Recently, during an interview with CNN, Jeff Bezos recommended Americans “consider putting off buying big ticket items they’ve been eyeing.”
The Founder of Amazon recommended “American households delay big-ticket purchases such as new TVs, refrigerators, and cars, given the risk that economic conditions worsen.”
I didn’t hear him mention refraining from Amazon’s Prime Day deals or Black Friday offers, but I personally recommend adding those items to your “do not buy list” as well.
Personal finance experts (and even retail billionaires apparently) are encouraging us to buy less. However, at the exact same time, retailers are working overtime to pressure us to buy.
This is for several reasons:
- Retail inventories are high.
- Consumers purchased lots of durable goods during the pandemic.
- Companies are looking to have cash on-hand for a looming recession.
When the wise thing to do is delay purchases, companies and marketers are going to be working harder to compel you to spend. This crescendo will reach a fever pitch over the next two months.
So how do we keep from falling into their trap?
Here are seven helpful steps:
1. Realize the promises of consumerism are always short-lived.
Every upcoming advertisement during the holiday season will promise you the same thing: a better life.
They will work to convince you that their latest product will make you more attractive, will bring you more friends, will create a more beautiful holiday season, or will bring happiness that you can’t find anywhere else.
Those promises are false. See through them. Fulfillment and a better life are not on-sale at a department store.
2. Consider the benefits of owning less.
Owning fewer possessions results in countless life-giving benefits: more time for those we love the most, more money for meaningful pursuits, more energy for things that matter.
Owning fewer possessions results in less stress, more peace, and more intentionality.
Minimalism frees us to pursue our greatest passions—however we choose to define them.
To overcome the pressures of consumerism about to exert themselves upon us, recognize how owning less has improved your life (or can improve your life). When you do, you’ll be less inclined to buy more.
3. Know that money on-hand will be more helpful to ride out a recession than a purchase at the mall.
According to some surveys, 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
As with any economic statistic, there are countless variables that contribute to it. But the fact that 62% of consumers earning between $50,000 and $100,000 live paycheck-to-paycheck and 54% of consumers who make between $100,000 and $150,000 annually live paycheck to paycheck should help us see that this reality is not entirely a product of low wages.
We are a culture addicted to buying things we don’t need.
But as a recession looms and talks of downsizing increase, your safest bet for riding out a recession is savings. The experts recommend dual-income families save at least 3 months’ worth expenses and single earners put aside 6 months or more.
70% of you will want to get started right away.
4. Set a budget for this holiday season (and stick to it).
It’s likely you are going to give some gifts this holiday season. We will as well.
But set a holiday budget and stick to it. Traditionally, 70% of us overspend our holiday budget. This is the year to stick to it.
5. Turn off marketing messages.
The more ads we see, the more likely we are to buy.
So turn them off whenever and wherever possible.
For example, begin unsubscribing from retail email lists now. It only takes about 2-3 weeks of clicking unsubscribe on every single marketing email that you receive to change your inbox (and life) forever.
Get started today.
6. Don’t fall into a scarcity mindset.
There is a temptation to fall into a scarcity mindset around the holidays, especially when sales are prevalent.
“This is my chance to buy this thing at a super-discounted price! I can’t pass that up.”
Remember, if you didn’t need an item before it went on sale, you don’t need it now.
7. Look for people you can help.
Inflation and a recession will impact lots of people negatively. In fact, our local food bank here in Phoenix is serving more families in need today than any point in their history.
To overcome the pressures of consumerism this holiday season, look for the people you can help. Your financial gifts may be needed more today than ever before.
Every holiday season is marked with excess consumerism. This year, the pressure to buy will be greater than ever. Likewise, the need to overcome that pressure is also more important than ever.