Once you start earning, capitalism provides many ventures to help you exercise your newly attained power of purchasing. As it expands we spend more, sometimes out of pseudo need and sometimes to replicate the nostalgia. We see advertisements almost every where, the moment we log into social media or walk out to the buy our daily groceries. So much product information often impairs our rational needs. We end up buying things we might not want, only out of peer consumerist behavior.
It is a normal phase for every adult who transitions into this phase. Our ultimate goal is to attain that utopian level of satisfaction. Somewhere we believe that those physical objects could bring us happiness, that happiness is ‘somewhere around the corner’ as Ryan Nicodemus says. This is also mistaken for the belief that real happiness could be achieved by the deprivation of objects. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is what we target for.
Based upon my experience, I compiled a checklist on how to know whether you actually need the product or service:
✓ When you pick the item/service, state three reasons why you exactly need it. Say that aloud.
✓ Will you use this item/service for more than five times?
✓ Is there a cheaper alternative for this item/service?
✓ Are you easily able to walk out of the check out portal/cash counter without buying the item/service?
✓ Do you love the item/service or the price?
✓ Does this fit in your budget?
While buying monthly groceries online, give yourself time of two days to plan the groceries. Check your fridge and pantry. Always following the rules above, you can double check in case you are buying any extra item. For groceries it is even more important because these are generally perishable being of consumable nature and wastage is even greater.
Create a budget based upon your average shopping activities and allocate money to it. Allow yourself to strictly follow the budget unless any item is of necessity as per the checklist above. By averaging, you should be able to budget while not withdrawing yourself of actual necessities. While it is good to allow yourself the comfort of your spending power, it is also necessary to not permit capitalism to abuse it.
It is absolutely normal to mindlessly buy an item or two at the start because we are not used to this routine. Give yourself time of twenty one purchases to settle in with the pattern. Do not give up practicing buying with awareness because you got back to your old habit once.