Through social media and the internet we are constantly bombarded with advertising, influencers, celebrities and even our friends sharing their perfect life and their perfect belongings. It can be easy to get swept up in it all, thinking that that new pair of heels, the new iphone, or the instagram-worthy bedroom decor will make us happy.
As someone who used to be like that, I am here to tell you that it WILL NOT. What it will do is leave you with debt, self-esteem issues, and a whole lot of stuff cluttering up the place. That may be a bit dramatic.. But hear me out.
I work in fashion, one of the most shallow and materialistic industries possible. The pressure to keep up an image in this industry is exhausting. I am also very susceptible to caring too much about what other people think of me.
(Side note: if you also care too much about what people think, I highly recommend you read this book!)
These two things combined meant that for a number of years I was obsessed with ‘keeping up with the joneses’, putting my self-worth in direct relation to how many great ‘things’ I had.
Long story short, it didn’t help me find happiness. It just helped me live outside of my means, burning through cash to upkeep a certain ‘lifestyle’ I wanted to portray to other people.
At the start of this year I watched an amazing Netflix documentary that I would highly recommend EVERYONE watch – Minimalism: A documentary about the important things. I was already aware of my flawed tendency to attach too much value to material items, but this really helped clarify that and motivate me to live in a different way. Trailer below:
Since watching that film I have embraced the minimalist lifestyle. I have almost stopped buying clothing entirely which, let me tell you, is a hard thing to achieve when you work in fashion. I have bought two dresses for weddings (which I have then sold straight afterwards), have bought one t-shirt, and two pieces of clothing I found at an op shop. Guys, I can literally count on one hand the amount of clothing I have bought in the past six months! #soproud
I also emptied out my wardrobe of all the items I was hoarding, and have not bought any other ‘thing’ since, unless I can truly justify the value (and also longevity) of the item.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret… I still have friends! Shock horror?! No one has ditched me for my slightly outdated clothing attire! I am also still excelling at my job in fashion without spending all my paycheck on clothing. What?! Crazy talk?!
It’s such a powerful and freeing feeling, not being consumed by this need to buy, buy, buy. Not automatically jumping to the conclusion that going shopping is going to fix your problems. Now, if I get the urge to spend I just say to myself, “Why do you think this will make you happy? What is the bigger issue here? Your value is not determined by things. This will not fix your problem.”
The mantra I now live by, and what I have always known deep down, I think:
Experiences are the only thing that you can spend money on that will make you richer.
Amen to that.