How to Overcome the “Materialistic Syndrome”

There is no doubt that money is an important part of our lives. Money is essential to building a sound financial framework and achieving some of our personal goals. However, when money becomes the only way to find satisfaction, you may be suffering from what I call the “materialistic syndrome.” This syndrome simply means that no matter how much money you have, it will never be enough to make you happy.

Don’t get me wrong, money helps us to be happier, but it’s not the answer to happiness. To see my point, consider a study conducted by Joseph Chancellor and Sonja Lyubomirsky, scholars from the University of California. Their research proved that a constant desire of obtaining money and possessions produce short positive emotions that fade quickly.

For example, if you remodel your house you’ll stay inside as much as you can to enjoy the new furniture and décor, but once you get used to it, you’ll lose the attraction and the excitement will fade. On the other hand, achievements that have an emotional meaning, such as getting married or graduating from college, remain in our conscious for long periods of time.

The trick to overcome the materialistic syndrome is to focus on emotional achievements rather than on financial ones. Here are four tips to help you leave materials things aside and enjoy a frugal life!

Find your motivation: When trying to change your mindset about money, you need to first find a financial motivation. For example, living frugally and simply could reduce the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. Also, riding your bike instead of driving your car, can contribute to a cleaner environment and save you a couple of hundreds a year!

Evaluate your purchases: Just because you have money to spend, it doesn’t mean you have to buy everything you see without checking out prices and thinking about priorities. Before making a purchase, spend some time thinking if you truly need it, if there are ways to reduce the cost and if that product aligns with your habits and goals.

Avoid commercials: The more exposed you are to commercials; the more likely you are to buy different products. After all, it’s not a coincidence that big corporations spend millions on advertising. They know how to convince you to like and buy their products. To avoid being tempted by commercials and ads, use Tivo to skip commercials, configure your browser to block online ads and unsubscribe from celebrity magazines.

Surround yourself with like-minded people: Finding people that share your same values can be helpful when trying to achieve a frugal lifestyle. You can join online forums or community groups that discuss saving tips and embrace emotional achievements.