I discovered a new blog the other day. It is penned by a financial journalist who decided to go a whole year without spending a penny, barring the necessities of course – food, mortgage etc., – but it got me thinking about our culture of consumerism.
I’ve spoken before about the influence of materialism and consumerism in modern society, further exasperated by social media and the digital age. It’s no wonder children are growing up with an unhealthy obsession towards technology and buying things.
If everyone around you is constantly buying into materialism, from swanky new cars on finance to a new wardrobe and the latest gadgets, it takes a pretty strong willed and self-assured individual to simply brush that lifestyle aside in favour of one that is more modest and unassuming.
Of course, not everyone has this mentality. There are those among us who are happy with little. After all, it is often said that family, friends and health can bring us the most happiness in life. Contrary to popular belief – money does not always buy happiness, but it does bring security, and sometimes happiness equals security. I remember naively snuffing the remark that money brings you happiness when I was younger, boldly believing that love would always trump. But, growing up you come to realise that while the amount you earn doesn’t always give you a golden ticket to a happier life, it can take those unnecessary stresses away.
Providing you had sufficient funds to pay your rent or mortgage, and had enough money spare for groceries and bills, do you think you could really go a whole year without spending another penny? No new clothes, holidays, the latest iPhone or lavish meals out? Would this new way of living be detrimental to your life and ultimately your happiness? Or, would it in fact have the opposite effect – could it encourage you to be more frivolous, to have more adventures and be more spontaneous with your time? Just because you’re not spending money, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun.
Perhaps in this world of consumerism we are now subject to, many of us have forgotten that the real joys in life often come free.