A key aspect of a True Wealth life is reducing consumption. Overconsumption is a modern issue and our society and environment fuel the fire. But the impact is not only on your wealth building capacity, this also effects health and well being.
According to Experian, average total consumer debt in 2022 was $101,915. That’s up nearly 10% from 2020, when average total consumer debt was $92,727!!!
But the odds are stacked against you. We live in an environment that is constantly manipulating us into consuming and spending more. Ever watched Mad Men? Literally thousands of companies, people and machines out with one simple mission, part you from your money.
Your More Than A Consumer
You will commonly be defined by the mass media as a “Consumer”. You are not a consumer, you are first and foremost a person with thoughts, conciousness, and can be an integral member of society through good actions.
I challenge you to think beyond the consumer label.
Millionaire Next Door
The cold hard truth is that most millionaires in the US are made through diligent consistent investing combined with healthy spending and consuming habits. They simply consume less so that they free up capital to invest.
I understand this will go over most people’s heads because it just seems to easy. Yes, simple concept, hard to implement for most people.
Reduce Consumption and Be Stronger
Simply put, reducing consumption will make a person healthier and wealthier. We live in a very wasteful environment. We rarely think about the true cost of our spending. We are also blind to the energy costs of producing too much and then the long range environmental costs.
What Can We Do?
Here are ways to reduce consumption and save money:
Improve Your Relationship with Money
The heart of money problems are both external environment and internal mindset. In order to reduce consumption and improve our lives, we must develop a healthy relationship with money. People are taught such crazy things about money. Like money is the root of all evil. What a lie. Money is neutral and can be utilized as a tool for good or bad. Money is energy, intention and a store of value.
Reduce Media Consumption
Even too much media consumption is a problem and can lead to even more bad money habits.
Be mindful of your energy use
Turn off lights when you leave a room, unplug appliances when they’re not in use, and set your thermostat to a comfortable but energy-efficient temperature. Conserve water. Take shorter showers, fix any leaks, and water your lawn and plants efficiently.
This may sound like a small thing. But small shifts like this shift our mindset and can set us on a new trajectory over time. This one is less about the money and more about slightly adjusting your perspective. Do not even waste the little things.
Recycle and compost
Recycling and composting is another subtle shift that helps our society but for us personally trains our minds. This will help reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill but mainly helps us be a more integrated and wise participant in the world. These first two are warmups to get our mind aligned into a frugal and wise mindset when it comes to consumption.
Shop less (Buy Nothing Groups)
Before you buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. If you can’t answer yes, then don’t buy it. And have you shopped around to discounts?
Shopping less actually has 3 subcategories that can make a huge impact on your quality of life and wealth building. They are stuff, homes and cars.
-stuff: Ever seen hoarders? Stuff has a cost beyond the initial price. We must store it, think about it and maintain it. Is it something you truly require to function in life? Are you buying stuff because it feeds a perceived self worth? Many people feel defined by their stuff.
-homes: Are you spending an appropriate amount on a home? We are constantly goaded into buying the most home we can. This is a mistake. Homes cost so much to maintain over the years. And the bigger the home the greater those costs.
cars- Vehicles are another area where Americans just spend too much and over consume. Check out our Money Vikings guide to True Wealth for more information on how much one can afford on vehicles.
Modest cars can be so much better these days. I have no idea why folks pay so much more for a so called luxury brand.
There are many great deals to be found on used clothes, furniture, appliances, and other items. I personally have enjoyed thrift stores and garage sales over the years. And do not forget the “Buy Nothing” groups that essentially trade stuff with people in your community. These habits can form a powerful money saving effect. See How to Keep the Credit Card Balance Down!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. By making small changes in your everyday life, you can make a big difference in your impact on the environment and your wallet.
Here are some additional tips to help you reduce consumption and save money:
- Use public transportation or carpool. This will save you money on gas and parking.
- Eat out less and have a veggie day.
- Say “No” to something and be honest, you can’t afford it right now. This is actually empowering.
- Support local businesses. This will help reduce your carbon footprint and keep your community strong.
- Learn to repair things. This will save you money in the long run and help you reduce waste. Learning to repair things may surprise you. You may feel accomplished, learn a new skill and save money. There are so many how to videos available on YouTube now for all these DIY folks!
Making small changes can make a big difference. By following these tips, you can reduce your consumption, save money, and help the environment.