In a regular day, how many advertisements for new stuff or services do you think you see? 50, maybe 100? WRONG! Try 5,000-10,000 ads a day. With this onslaught of marketing geniuses telling you what you need next, how do you quiet the voice of wanting new things?
Quieting the Voice of Wanting New Things Takes Work
I’m no stranger to liking and wanting stuff. It’s a hard balance between minimalism and frugality sometimes and the struggle is still there. But now as we have grown as adults, parents, and minimalists, I have learned to quiet the voice inside of me that tells me that I need something.
No, I’m not telling myself to shut up while at Target (although, that doesn’t seem unreasonable). I tell myself that I don’t even need to go to Target in the first place.
Quieting the voice of consumerism happens before you step foot in a store, opening a shopping app, or getting online. It happens when you look at your priorities – for yourself, your money, and your home.
Let’s talk priorities.
When I want something new, I run through a mental checklist:
- Do I actually need this?
- Is it on my 72 Hour List?
- Will I still like this in one week, one month, one year?
- Does this match my priorities (minimalism, frugality, money smart)?
Think about what you want in your day to day life. Do you want to save money? Live more minimally? Zero waste? Spend more time with family?
You see, the more money you spend, the less money you have available to you to save. The more stuff you have, the more you have to keep up with… cleaning, storing, dragging along with you, selling/giving away, disposing of in the end. More waste monetarily and of resources and potentially less time with your family.
In order to quiet the voice of wanting new things, you need to have clear priorities.
For us, our top priority is to save money. Second priority is to continue our minimalist lifestyle. To do both, we should buy less. I’ve quieted that consumerist voice in my head telling me to buy more things, by putting those priorities first and that something new second.
Buying less (or nothing at all) is a challenge on its own. But when you make it more of a game rather than something “you need to do”, you’re more likely to stick with it.
I’m not suggesting that you permanently stop buying new things. I suggest a no-spend challenge to get you started.
A no-spend challenge is like hitting the reset button on your shopping habits.
With our no-spend year, we’re doing just this. After one month, we could tell our spending habits were changing. After two months, our habits were completely changed.
Intentional shopping (even with hobbies).
We are far more intentional about where and how our money is spent and what we bring into our home.
You’ll see in our no-spend monthly reports that we do spend money on things we don’t need. One of the rules we established was that we could intentionally spend money on hobby items that enrich our lives.
For Dan, he loves fishing and disc golf. So we have a budget category of “sporting goods” for him. He gets to spend money on things that make his hobbies happen. Hobbies = happiness.
For me, I’m a blogging mom with a sewing side hustle. So when I spend money, it is on things like sewing machine maintenance, fabric I score at garage sales, and blog hosting. These things make me happy. I then turn these “things” into new products and all these lovely words that a few of you read 🙂 .
So if you love home decor and interior design, and with that love comes a few purchases of home goods here and there, so be it! Just be intentional about what you bring in. Don’t let these things go to waste, unused in a closet somewhere. Try shopping what you own before you go out and buy something new.
Detox from ads.
With most of us staying home these days (thanks, coronavirus), it’s hard to get away from advertisements. We might be watching more TV or on social media more often. If you’re not, good for you! That was my goal, too. But let’s face it: watching TV is easy. Even if it is YouTube or Amazon Prime. There are still ads!
The best way to detox from ads and help quiet the voice of wanting new things is to detox from your digital life (e-reading excluded).
Dan and I go through phases of digital detoxing. Even though our social media consumption fluctuates, I always know when I need to stop scrolling or stop reading the news.
Read more on how to embrace digital minimalism and digitally detox >>>
At the time I started writing this, COVID-19 had not taken over the world. But even then, I knew that I needed to include a section on gratitude. Now days, everyone should be feeling a little more grateful for what they have.
Gratitude = a quieted consumer mind
The more I am grateful for, the less I want. The more gratitude I have, the more whole I feel.
Sounds easy, right?
But this wasn’t always the case! Daily gratitude is a learned and practiced skill for me. I was used to saying what I was grateful for only at Thanksgiving dinner and then – oh, look – Black Friday shopping and Christmas!
Practicing everyday gratitude ultimately quieted the voice of wanting new things for me. Every day I will take out my planner and write down a few things I am thankful for. It’s as small as enough creamer to make a nice iced coffee, to bigger things like my health and the health of my family.
Being thankful and grateful for the small things in life will help you avoid bringing anything new into your life unnecessarily.
This isn’t meant to make you a minimalist, but…
Quieting the voice of wanting new, exciting things is a big factor of what makes minimalism a part of our life. We chose to set priorities of only owning what we need, what brings joy, and makes us comfortable.
This blog isn’t meant to turn you in a minimalist (or give you a frugal living quest). But take a good look around you. You should have the time since you’re social distancing (mostly joking)! Does what you own make you happy? Or are you constantly on a quest to have the next best thing?
Online shopping is a big part of everyone’s life right now. It gives us that gratification of never leaving our homes and our wanted items just show up at the door. Before placing your next order, go through your home. Do you have anything that can “make do” and fill that want or need?
Decluttering is a soul-cleansing process. I recommend it to everyone! Evaluate your items during this period of uncertainty. Do your items serve you well? Or can they serve someone else better? (Remember that most donation centers across the country will be closed during the pandemic. Practice good social distancing if you’re giving an item to a friend or neighbor!)
Find more on decluttering >>>
- The Simple Guide on How to Purge Your Whole Home
- 9 Tips to Help You Declutter in 2020
- How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed When You Declutter
I hope that you stay healthy and happy!
Have questions or comments about today’s post? Let me know in the comments below!