Wisdom and Mindful Consumption


  Wisdom and Mindful Consumption

We are experiencing a time of unprecedented affluence in our society. We have everything we could possibly want or need, just waiting on the shelf at the local store. There is nothing we can't buy if we get extra money. But there is one thing that money cannot buy: happiness.

It turns out that living for today and buying everything you look at may not be as great an idea as it initially seems. Happiness and life satisfaction come from having wisdom coupled with mindful consumption - being present and thoughtful about what you are consuming and living within your means to avoid future financial stressors like bankruptcy or losing your home. While you can never be fully prepared for the future, planning ahead and having some wisdom in your consumption choices will help you avoid stress, anxiety, tightness in the chest and sleepless nights.

When it comes to our finances and spending, we are often not as mindful as we could be. We see something that is shiny, attractive or just really cool and jump on it even though it may not be something we can afford. Because of peer pressure or trying to keep up with the Joneses, many people don't think twice about buying something they really can't afford even if they don't need it.

It seems that more often than not we are buying things because they are on sale, a good deal, or maybe there is a rebate or cash back. While these types of deals may be tempting, rather they really help us get ahead financially or will just put us further into debt? Are we just buying something because it's on sale and we think it looks cool or does it fit with our lifestyle? It's important to think long and hard before you make your purchase. A little bit of mindfulness could go a long way in helping you achieve your financial goals and determine what is the best use of your money.

Marketing and advertising have become so pervasive that we are now surrounded by advertisements for almost everything imaginable. As a result, the consumer culture we all live in has been influenced by non-stop marketing. In order to survive in this world of endless marketing and advertising, we must constantly learn about our desires (idealized products) and what is out there on the market. But how do we find out what is actually available?

According to Dr. Rosalind Barnett, author of "The Gift Economy: Why We Can't Buy Our Way Out of Environmental Disaster," "there is no such thing as being too informed" when it comes to making purchases with your money. Barnett's article, "The Gift Economy, the Consumer Trap and How to Get Out," in the October 2006 issue of Makeover Magazine says that we need to become more mindful of what we buy. When making purchases with your money make sure you are aware of the gift economy and know what is available.

Barnett explains the gift economy as follows: When a community becomes "too big and too anonymous for people to go door-to-door exchanging services, they still have their needs taken care of by other members of their community. In this new form, goods are traded for gifts rather than money." This means that you can trade your skills or crafts for other types of products that you need. This allows you to be more mindful about what products you buy and gives you the opportunity to offer your talents and skills in exchange for other things of value.

So what does this mean in terms of our financial lives? It means that if we want to be more mindful about what we buy, rather than buying a product because it is on sale, get the most value for your money and have enough money saved so that you can afford any unexpected purchases at home. Also, if we really want our lives to change around in a positive way, being present and conscious of how we spend our time is an essential part of holistic change in any area of life. If you are mindful with your time, finances will follow. With this in mind, think about how you can be more mindful of some of your financial decisions and if it will help you meet your financial goals.

One way to do this is by having a budget. Having a budget allows you to be mindful and helps you stay within your means when making purchases with your money. Having a budget is also essential in achieving the goals that are important to you. It allows you to save for the future, pay off debt, invest for your future and enjoy life by not having to worry about money every month. To learn more about putting together a budget and how it can change your life, read "Simple Budgeting Tips: Financial Peace of Mind" from the September 2009 issue of Makeover Magazine .

It takes a special person to be able to cope with financial stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights. It takes someone who is mindful of what they are doing with their money as well as who they spend it on. When people do things on impulse or for the latest trendy item or product, the result is many sleepless nights. Additionally, when you put yourself into debt without being aware of your spending habits, the stress and anxiety that it causes can be overwhelming. If you are in debt then you will not be able to enjoy your life or achieve your goals financially. It's important to stay in control of your finances and avoid future financial stress so that you can unlock the wonderful life possibilities that lie ahead for you.

The opportunity to enjoy life and reach your financial goals is available to everyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. The key to unlocking your financial potential is being mindful about how you are spending your money, what you are buying and how much debt you have. Additionally, it's important that you set goals for yourself and work towards those goals by making wise financial choices. When you do this, the possibilities are endless.

About the author: Amy Gaddis of Adairsville, GA., has been a Relationship Manager at Suze Orman's popular blogsite for more than seven years; she also writes on her own site, Kasidie's Corner . Her favorite topics include financial independence and relationship tips. Do you have a financial question? Send it to Adairsvillefinancialadvice@gmail.com.

Amy Gaddis is the content editor for Suze Orman's popular blogsite and writes on her own site, Kasidie's Corner, which can be found at http://www.kasidiescorner.com/. Her personal finance expertise is based on over 20 years of experience as a certified public accountant working in large corporations and retail businesses; she has also worked in investment banking and in corporate tax departments for large law firms. Her blogs are focused on personal finance issues, managing your money, investing wisely and not being a victim to debt.


Finally, there is the issue of making changes in your life to make it a better place for you, your family and friends. You may be doing this by volunteering at the local church, going out to eat with friends or taking up a new hobby that you enjoy. All these things are important in being mindful of your life; if you don't do them you will only be a mindlessly consumer and nothing more. If you want to get out of debt then remember that all forms of debt will come due and when they are, they will take everything that you have worked for and put it in the hands of companies who don't ever care about giving back what they have taken from people.

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