We’ve all seen Mad Men by now, right? It’s a great show about the huge machine…advertising… that has one crystal clear goal: to make us want to buy more stuff.
Except today, it’s much bigger than it was in Don Draper’s era. In North American alone, over $297 billion (yes that’s a “B”) was spent convincing us we need to buy more of just about anything we can think of. That’s just one year.
Yes, big money buys a lot of brainpower. There’s many psychologists, PhDs and marketers dreaming up better ways to get us to buy more.
And not coincidentally….statistics also show more people are stressed about money than ever.
It’s no surprise, everywhere you turn, there’s people and businesses trying to take that dollar you worked so hard to earn to get it working for them.
The good news? It’s not that hard to learn financial self-defense. (It actually can be fun.)
Fortunately, there is an answer: staying aware. In reality, we just need to keep that monumental 297 billion number in mind anytime we have the urge to spend. Chances are there’s some Mad Men and Women behind that idea.
Fortunately we can improve our financial shields with just a bit of practice. Here are some easy things you can do to practice financial self-defense:
- Avoid magazines. Ah, the magazine. They are eye candy. Aside from seeing photoshopped people who don’t look like that in real life, we also come away wanting things. Suddenly, we “need” that luxury watch…or car…or makeup…or $5,000 purse. Why pay to have your subconscious hijacked? Think about it.
- Impose a one-week waiting period before buying. Many times when we’re tired or stressed, our brains search for quick fixes. Spending is an easy one. But we all have that shirt/sweater/pair of shoes that we “had” to have…that now sits unused in the back of the closet. Give the urge some time to pass, like one week….usually you will forget about it.
- Replace spending with things you love that don’t cost much. Replace visits to shopping malls or time spent browsing online for something else. Nature is one of the best healers….get outdoors, doing something you love. Hiking, biking, flying a kite, walking with your dog or friends or family. Read a book. Join a club. Find things that are pleasant and don’t cost much and see how addictive these can be.
And…forgive yourself if you screw up (we all do)
We can’t bat 100% against those Mad Men…occasionally they will win.
But over time, we just keep working on it. It becomes a habit. We start buying what we really need and really want, and leave the rest for others to automatically pick up the slack. In the process, we can keep our hard-earned dollars working for us…not for them.
Want to learn more about saving and investing without pain? Check out our content library at wavelengthmoney.com.