Resisting Consumeristic Temptations: How’s that for a snooty title for an article? But the article itself is not so snooty. I’ve been reading John Temple’s little book Family Money Matters and found a handy list of ways to resist the temptations of living in our high-pressure world of advertising and consumerism. It seemed worth sharing. Here is what he suggests.
- Do not read the glossy “good-life” magazines. These are filled with temptations to buy or consume what may not be remotely necessary. I have stopped even opening the airline magazines, which depict a way of life which is presented as normal but is not even close.
- Do not watch the “lifestyle” TV programs that extol glamorous or extravagant living.
- Hit the mute button when the commercials appear on TV and try to ignore what they are showing.
- Avoid impulse buying. When you go shopping, draw up a list of what you need to buy and wear blinders for everything else. Never buy anything from the displays at the checkouts.
- Don’t buy anything that is a bargain if you do not need it. It is no bargain if you can do without it.
- Politely decline any salesperson who comes to your door. He or she is almost always selling something that you do not need.
- Do not be tempted to have the latest in anything. This includes fashions, electronic gadgets, computers and cars. The list is endless. Keep your old one until it makes economic sense to replace it. I still wear suits that are twenty years old. They have been in and out of fashion a few times, so I am not always out of date! While ladies may be more tempted in the clothing arena, men will be subject to more pressure with gadgets and cars. Watch yourself.
- Do not spend ostentatiously. I recall a pastor’s wife noting that many people who have money often live frugal lives and shop carefully, whereas some people tend to spend freely even if they should be more careful. The writer of Proverbs knew this long ago! “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth” (Prov. 13:7).
Temple also offers up this challenge (or rebuke): “Women tend to control daily needs such as food and children’s clothing. I have noticed that they are generally very good at saving on these items. However, I have also noticed that men are very good at spending all their wives’ hard-fought savings! An entire year’s discounts, grocery coupons and special offers go on a single new digital camera, mobile phone, TV set or computer. Men ought to be examples to their families, leading in frugality and not succumbing to the temptations of the materialistic market.”