Living in London for 10 years and seeing nice cars, people with the newest gadgets and people wearing expensive clothing it's difficult to avoid joining the heard. This is called 'keeping up with the Joneses' which is buying things that you can't afford to look like and fit in with other people. Over the years, I learned how to avoid keeping with the Jonases by already appreciating what I already have and enjoying my environment without having to own fancy cars or expensive clothes which helped me save a lot of money over the years.
I used to think that having the latest gadget in the market would make me happy but it did the complete opposite. I was back to being unsatisfied after buying a new phone and I had less money in the bank because I got into a habit of comparing myself to others and always wanting the next new thing. My finances definitely took a toll.
I soon realised that we are often influenced a lot by our environment and what we see on social media. Social media are so effective in influencing what we want that we actually overlook what we truly want. We often see a lot of people on social media getting new cars, a new house, or the newest phone in the market that we forget to realise that not having the latest things in the market is okay. We are fine as we are and we are not missing out on anything by not having any of these material objects.
When I started to practice gratitude, my mindset and my personal finances quickly made a turnaround. Listing some of the things that I was grateful for forced me to look at the things around me more carefully and I started to appreciate them a little more. I found that I took care of my things better and that improved the longevity of my personal belonging. This feeling of gratefulness teaches you to love your life just as it is and be happier with less. If we lessen our needs then we lessen our expenses.
THE 'HAPPINESS' HORMONE
I was reading the other day and I came across some interesting facts about the chemical reactions that occur in our brain when you are shopping. Dopamine levels, also known as the 'happy hormone', increase in your brain when you are expecting or anticipating a reward and this is mainly associated with shopping. And what's interesting is that we get the same dopamine kick when we save or invest our money. So instead of shopping around for the next car or gadget, why not shop for the underlying company stock and invest. Did you ever notice that after buying your new phone the level of excitement dies off after a few days? That's because the dopamine level decreases straight after your purchase. Understanding this fundamental and important behaviour in your brain can save you a lot of money by recognising and controlling your thoughts and emotions when you want to purchase something.
LEAVE IT OVERNIGHT
One of the ways that I found useful whenever I find myself shopping online is that I leave my basket overnight or I come back to it after a few days. If I still feel the same way about purchasing the items that I've convinced myself to buy then I go ahead but more often than not I actually end up forgetting about the items that I've added to my basket. The feeling of need changes as the days goes on and this method has saved me a lot of money buying clothes and gadgets that I don't really need. It also makes you rethink about keeping with your old stuff instead of getting something new.
I think personally the most important thing to do is stop looking at what others have and also start appreciating what we already have in our possession. You will notice that once you start to appreciate what you have that you will soon realise how much you are living in abundance that will provide you with the same level of joy.