Being honest with myself has been deeply meaningful over the last five years - to be specific, I am and always will be a recovering consumerist.
I still experience the following dangerous triggers:
- The rising feeling of excitement when spending - even small amounts (yep, even when buying milk and bread!)
- The endorphin rush of a new purchase
- The glow of having attention paid to me by sales staff
- The sense of invincibility immediately after purchase
- The excitement of being offered credit
- The sense of abundance triggered by purchasing
- The sense of achievement walking away with multiple bags of purchases
The personal honesty that is required to admit to oneself that this addiction to consumerism will never be cured but only ever vigilantly 'well contained' takes truck loads of humility and guts. An addiction is an addiction no matter what the drug-of-choice and every addict knows that it only takes one single return to (insert drug-of-choice) and we are immediately and thoroughly in a frightening free-fall.
One of the most powerful tools I have used to reduce the addictive self-harming habits of consumerism is to employ replacement therapy. Replacement therapy allows a new and powerful dominating passion to replace or significantly minimise the effects of an existing addiction.....really it is replacing one type of addiction with another. Certain personalities are more prone to addiction than others (some science tells us) and replacement therapy can often work well. It is my best tool against consumerism to date, that's for certain.
I am now happy to openly admit that despite the massive measurable progress I have made with fighting consumerism over the last half a decade via several ongoing replacement therapy scenarios, I will always be addicted consumerism. True, I may never or rarely relapse, but it is 'there' just in the shadows as powerful as ever.
So, if you find yourself falling off the budgeting wagon regularly, succumbing to spending of all things big and small, lying to yourself about spending habits, racking up debt on 'necessary' things, spending to simply feel better, spending on others regularly, being 'generous' outside of your means, fabricating reasons about money issues, doubting your true ability to earn a better income then I truly understand, I truly empathise .... BUT ..... I refuse to sympathise or join you in the excuses.
I spent many years sympathising with myself and believing my own excuses. Enough. Stop. Nuh.
If you believe you can't cut your expenses any further - then you'd be wrong about that.
If you believe you don't earn enough - then you'd be wrong about that as well.
If you believe it's all someone else's fault - then you'd be wrong about that too.
If you don't thing you can master your circumstances - then you'd be wrong about that.
If you think you are the only one - then you'd be wrong about that for certain
If you know you'll never change - then you'd be wrong about that.
If change won't happen because of what your partner is doing/not doing - then you'd be wrong about that absolutely.
If you think you are so far behind that you'd never get ahead - then you'd be wrong about that...totally wrong in fact.
The powerful emotions engaged in the addiction of consumerism cannot be fully cured.....but they can be mostly reassigned to new powerful and meaningful addictions. I now fully believe this.
I believe because I've done it and I'm doing it.
Here's a challenge to control the mighty addiction of consumerism:
If you think living on 50% of your income is impossible - then you'd be wrong about that. Send me your budget (if you're game) and I will be happy to rewrite it and show you how to do it in detail.
Yes, I'M SERIOUS.
Take care dear folk....and stay nice.
Mr HM (Phil)