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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Learning to Fight the Urge to Consume

One of my goals to help simplify my life is to learn to buy less stuff. I want to quit buying things that I don't need. I spend less money, I create less waste, I spend less time shopping and most importantly, I am not sucking the world's resources dry.

This can be amazingly difficult!

I have kept myself from going into stores unless it is grocery day. Then, I stick to two (maybe three) stores. I do this because the best deals are found at Aldi's and I go to Kroger for everything else. I try to stay out of Walmart as much as possible. I had been doing really well with this until yesterday. My husband and I stopped in Walmart during lunch. He had been wanting to buy a new tent and they had one on sale that he was interested in. We ended up leaving with a tent, a tennis racket, a new sleeping bag, car seat covers for my car and mascara.

We were completely overwhelmed by a need to buy, buy, buy! I had not felt like that in awhile. It was like a drug coursing through my veins!! I couldn't believe how much I wanted to buy things and thought I needed stuff. I also had the immediate feeling of guilt afterwards. I walked out of Walmart with my head hung in shame.

I realize now that working towards simplicity and fighting materialism is going to take time. I still need to take baby steps to get to a slower paced lifestyle. I am going to have setbacks, but I can't let them get me down.

There are many reasons that I want to change my life and to combat materialism.

What we do here in the U.S. affects the rest of the world whether we know it or not. We can not go on living selfishly and expect that there are no consequences. There are consequences even if they are not felt by you and me. We need to be more thoughtful, purposeful, and considerate when we make purchases. We also need to realize how lucky we are every day when we wake up under a roof most likely with air conditioning, ample amounts of food, good clothing, nice cars and plenty of extras.

I am currently reading "Tis a Gift to be Simple: Embracing the Freedom of Living with Less" by Sorenson and Sorenson. One specific line in the book states, "We must voluntarily, one by one, learn ways to live simply so that others may simply live." Reading this was powerful. I have to be conscious when I bring things into my home that are unnecessary to my survival and happiness. The more simply I live, the more money I can save. The more money that I have saved, the more likely I am to be able to live more generously.

We cannot continue to be a drain on the world's resources. If each family, "one by one" becomes more thoughtful of how they live and spend, we will begin to see a change.

Next time you find yourself at the front door of a store where you know you will be tempted to spend needlessly, just turn around and RUN.

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