5 Ways You Can Combat Consumerism In 2018

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We’re almost there, guys! 2018 is knocking down the door just waiting for us to embrace it. And that’s exactly what we plan to do. But we’re not going to embrace it by buying ourselves a new car or unnecessary STUFF. No, Sir. Instead, we plan to embrace 2018 by continuing our plan to combat consumerism – just like we did last year and the year before that. If you, too, want to take charge of your finances in the new year and combat consumerism, read on! 

Combat Consumerism In 2018

Combat Consumerism | Stop Spending | Stop Wasting Money | Shopping Ban | Take Control Of Your Money via @MadMoneyMonsterA few years ago, Mr. MMM and I weren’t doing all the right things with our money. We were living like we just graduated college and didn’t have a care in the world. Unfortunately, we didn’t just graduate college – we graduated college quite a few years earlier and we did have many cares in the world. First and foremost, we had a daughter.

But all of that didn’t stop us from going out to eat almost nightly and nearly buying a huge house we couldn’t comfortably afford. Thankfully, the house didn’t pass the inspection with flying colors and we were smart enough to pull the plug when we had the chance. Phew.

After that whole fiasco, we took our heads out of our butts and, after a little light Googling, found the FIRE community. To say we were blown away is an understatement. Needless to say, we caught the bug and haven’t looked back since. The success and continuation of this blog is proof of that.

These days, we’re eliminating debt and building wealth like never before. Along the way, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to keep our expenses low and our wallets fat. If you’re interested in doing the same, here are 5 money tips you should implement now to have a fruitful 2018!

1. Ditch Debt For Good

Debt is the bane of most people’s existence. It seems the more we try to escape it, the more our society tries to tell us it’s a good idea to finance a mobile phone or charge a new pair of boots.

To combat consumerism and the debt that goes along with it, it’s vital to attack it from both sides. You must stop accumulating new debt and at the same time start eliminating the debt you currently have.

I know it might seem impossible, particularly if you have a mountain of debt. But believe me, when you resolve to dig yourself out of your crushing debt, your balances will disappear faster than you ever imagined.

So, the first thing you need to do to take control of your money and combat consumerism in 2018 is to take inventory of your debt and make a plan to pay it off. For good. There are two tried and true debt repayment plans that have worked wonders for many other people in your shoes: The Debt Avalanche and the Debt Snowball. Check out each one and see which one fits your personality best. Then, go with it!

Oh, just in case you’re wondering, we chose the Debt Snowball and now our only debt is our mortgage. Woot woot!

2. Avoid Temptation Hot Spots, Like…The Mall

One thing that we found was paramount in our debt freedom journey was avoiding places that encouraged us to part with our money. For us, that meant places like restaurants and malls.

As many of my long-time readers know, I am a sucker for a meal out of the house, but even I was able to (mostly) overcome this. By eliminating temptation, you’ll be able to, essentially, give yourself a raise.

And when you give yourself a raise, you’ll have more money to pay down debt and build wealth. Remember, whether you’re paying down debt or investing, your net worth goes up!

Speaking of net worth, make sure you track yours. It has been the single biggest money motivator we have incorporated into our financial arsenal since starting our FIRE/FIOR journey.

We track ours with the free tool, Personal Capital. But there are other ways to track it, too. All you need to do is subtract your liabilities from your assets. And, voila, you have your net worth.

3. Resist The New Flashy Smartphone

DIY artwork - combat consumerism in 2018

Our DIY artwork we have hanging in our LR. 5′ x 4′ oil painting. Nothing says savings like doing it yo’self!

I kid you not when I say that I used to pre-order the latest iPhone before it hit stores. Yep. I was one of those people.

Now if you’re sitting there reading this and you’re still one of “those people”, don’t get all angry with me. I’m not saying you’re a bad person. In fact, I think it’s perfectly fine to do that if you have your financial house in order and really love having the latest iGadget. Trust me, I understand.

However, back when I was doing it, I did not have my financial house in order. My financial house was in shambles, I tell you. So after Mr. MMM and I made our money a priority, I felt the need to resist the flashy new smartphone everytime a new one was launched. Over time, the desire miraculously faded. And I’m totally okay with that.

Right or wrong, nowadays I have absolutely no desire to upgrade my iPhone. I’m still running a straight 6 and I’m happy as a lark – whatever that means. 🙂

4. Replace Buying Stuff With Doing Things

If you tend to get a lot of pleasure out of buying stuff, try to replace buying stuff with other stuff – like doing things. For instance, if you love dining out with the girls (or guys), try replacing it with a potluck dinner at your place. Imagine everyone bringing a dish and a drink. Oh, the fun you could have!

But what if you’re more of a shopping kind of gal? No problem. When you get a hankering to go buy a new pair of boots (can you tell I love boots?!), why not lace up and go for a hike instead. Maybe take a few outdoorsy pics on your trek to remember your day.

Later that night, reflect on your day by looking at your photos and talking about your experience. Before you know it, you’ll be getting more satisfaction out of a trail hike than you would from dropping dough on boots you probably don’t need.

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5. Reset Your Noggin’ 

All in all, in order to be successful with combatting consumerism, you have to reset your noggin’.

You don’t just get rid of a bad habit like shopping, you replace it with another habit – hopefully, a better one.

Be purposeful with your decisions and why you’re choosing to do what you do and you’ll likely end up with a solid financial plan for 2018.

Execute that plan and you’ll finish next year a much richer person – both emotionally and financially.

Take Control Of Your Money Today

And there you have it, a new financial start to your new year. Remember, your bottom line doesn’t define who you are. It’s just a snapshot of your financial situation. If you don’t like it, change it.

If you’d like a little help changing your financial situation, sign up for my free 5-day email course! Oh, and Happy New Year!

 

What are your financial goals for the new year? 

Combat Consumerism | Stop Spending | Stop Wasting Money | Shopping Ban | Take Control Of Your Money via @MadMoneyMonster

7 comments… add one
  • CashflowKat Jan 1, 2018, 8:04 pm

    And I’ve heard that Apple is going to start offering battery replacements for iPhone 6’s by the end of January for $29 (as opposed to the $80 they were charging). So you can keep your phone even longer! 🙂

  • Solitary Diner Dec 30, 2017, 1:40 am

    Very good advice. I can top you on the phone…I’m still using a 4S! It was state-of-the-art when it came out, but now not so much.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 31, 2017, 11:49 am

      Haha…the 4S! That’s back when I was still pre-ordering the latest iGadget to keep up with the Joneses. 🙂

  • Kim from Philadelphia Dec 29, 2017, 10:41 am

    I couldn’t agree more!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 29, 2017, 1:26 pm

      Thanks!

  • Sarah @tortoisehappy.com Dec 29, 2017, 9:49 am

    As someone who plans to go car shopping in the next couple of months, I was going to skulk quietly away! But I’m so pro dialling down cosumerism and want to continue deliberate purchasing.

    In 2018, crazy and insignificant though it might sound, I want to ditch chemical cleaning products and use vinegar, lemon, bicarb of soda, etc. So far, it’s felt too weird and, I don’t know, backwards? But I know it’s a stupid way to feel and its more stupid to keep using unnatural and expensive chemicals.

    (Btw, our car purchase is deferred from last year. We’re hoping to be able to land on a great value 2nd hand car, which is more fuel efficient than what we’ve got now. So, it’s not the worst way to start 2018!)

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 29, 2017, 1:26 pm

      That sounds like a great way to start 2018! Congrats on the decision to go with natural cleaning products. I’ve actually been considering making the switch, too.

      Good luck with finding a fuel-efficient car in the new year. 🙂

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