One study suggests that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Changing how we think about money is like forming a habit. We have to break the habit of spending, and form a new habit of saving. What’s challenging and unique about breaking a spending habit, is that everywhere we turn, we are faced with marketing ploys tempting us to spend money. Companies have researched scents, visual stimulation, and product placement to influence consumers to spend their money. To combat this, we have to learn to turn that desire to spend money completely off.
The best way to do this is to learn to be content. When you are content with what you have, you no longer desire more. You can walk past a sign that says 75% off, and not have a single urge to buy anything. When you start to desire something, ask yourself why? Is it because you think it will make you happier? Is it to impress other people? Once you have identified the root of your desire, you can learn to combat it. Realize that happiness doesn’t come from buying things. That initial excitement you get from a purchase, quickly wears off. Find other ways to make yourself happy. Have a game night with your family. Have friends over for dinner. Connect with people. If you want to impress other people, ask yourself why? Why would you risk your financial security just to impress other people? Chances are, they don’t care. They don’t care what brand your pants are, or what year your car is, and if they do, you may want to find new friends. Success is not defined by our materialistic possessions. Start to focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t. This goes back to rewiring our thinking. Instead of desiring a bigger house, newer car, designer clothing, or matching dishes, be thankful for what you have, and realize that it’s enough. I’m incredibly lucky to have a house where my kids have their own rooms, and I even have this large space just for my cars. Life is so good that not only do I have my own car, but my husband has one as well. I don’t have to walk miles and miles to get water or food. I drive my car to the grocery store right down the road. I’m lucky that I have a closet crammed with clothes. I even have a machine that washes all of my clothes for me, and another one that dries them. I am so privileged, that I’m more concerned about having matching dishes, than putting food on them. Look at the bigger picture, and suddenly you will realize that you already have everything that you need.