Why We Always Want to Buy More New Things and How to Deal With It
There are 2 main reasons for why people spend more money than they need to — they want to feel better by moving closer to pleasure or by moving away from pain. By buying a new dress or even something more expensive, like a new smartphone, we keep ourselves entertained and distracted from any real problems we might have to deal with. And even though, deep down, we might know that we don’t really need new stuff, at times, it can be impossible to resist the pressure of buying it.
The Bright Side team dug into the subject and found out that there are a few reasons that lay underneath this inexplicable urge to buy more and more. We will take you through each of them and let you know how you might be able to change your mindset toward shopping.
You are hoping to impress other people.
Natural resources are limited, and in terms of Darwin’s theory of evolution, humans have to compete over them and try to claim as much as possible for their own well-being. But once all of our basic needs have been met, consumption ends up coming from something else. This has resulted in people showing off their wealth and importance to the rest of the world by buying more and more stuff that they don’t actually need.
What to do instead: Remember that feeling good is better than looking good. Because let’s be honest, another expensive sweater doesn’t make you feel better in the long run. And for the same money, you could also treat yourself to a day at the spa, from which you will come back rested, de-stressed, and ready to tackle all the challenges that lay ahead.
You are jealous of people who have more.
We like to compare ourselves with the people who surround us. This results in us buying stuff only because our friends have it too, not because we actually need it. Also, we are more selfish than we like to admit. When talking about the past, we always mention the “survival of the fittest,” but actually it’s not very different today. We seek to grow the size of our personal kingdom by buying more things than others.
What to do instead: Happiness is truly in the little things. A big buy is not necessarily equal to a lot of happiness. It might give you a thrill the moment you receive it, but this fades away quickly. It is way more meaningful to have a simple dinner and some good conversation with your friends and family. It was even proven that having those meaningful relationships can boost your survival rate.
You fall victim to marketing.
There are many tricks that can be used to make you buy something and you are not even aware of most of them, but believe us — companies are. They even manage to persuade the so-called “cold customers,” who didn’t know they had a problem that could be solved by buying a new product. One trick that is often used is to allow the consumer the opportunity to try the product out. The moment where they are physically holding a new product can create a sense of psychological ownership, making people more likely to purchase.
What to do instead: Think about what you need before going out to buy it. People tend to buy more when they are in a shop than when buying online because, in a shop, they are way more vulnerable to impulse shopping. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, make a clear shopping list for yourself before leaving, and only buy what is on your list.
You feel like you are not in control of your life.
We believe owning material possessions will make us feel more secure. This is true in the case of our basic needs, like a roof or clothing, but we tend to have the feeling that owning excess will result in even more security. Even though this can give us a feeling of security for a short amount of time, it is less stable than we like to believe.
What to do instead: Learn to live with “enough.” Encourage yourself to fight the urge to possess even more than you can consume. Before making a purchase simply ask yourself — why am I buying this?
You are bored.
The most common reason we buy things is simple — boredom. When we don’t have anything else to do, when we don’t have a purpose, we simply get something new to spice up our day and we believe that this will make us happy.
What to do instead: If you really need something more, indulge in experiences. Living purposefully is using your time and money for important things that will make a better future for you and for the people around you. So instead of going for the short thrill of a new buy, sign up for volunteer work or go out and explore the world.
Can you identify your own shopping behavior in this article? How do you deal with the urge to buy something you actually don’t need?