3 Ways to Conquer Your Consumerism

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Practicing delayed gratification is said to be something successful people do but when you’re not yet successful it can just feel like an endless cycle of telling yourself “No, not yet.” “No Wait.” “Don’t spend that you may need it.” or “Don’t go there you can’t afford it.”

Destination Gratification: Flight 2018 Delayed

I love going into the mall to gaze longingly at all the s—- I can not afford. I am the queen of delayed gratification but the truth is, it only works because I “gratify” myself in some way. If you’re trying to save money or spend less, it’s often believed that you must cut out activities that encourage consumerism. I, in fact, think that the best advice is to conquer those places, because let’s face it, my favorite coffee shop is a place I go to clear my head or bury it deep into a book.

The $5 iced mocha with cinnamon and whipped cream is a knee-jerk reaction to feeling like I’m expected to buy something because I’m benefiting from the calm, creative environment. NOBODY said I had to buy a $5 coffee though; I could buy the orange juice for $1.50 and enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted reading/writing just as much. Sometimes delayed gratification doesn’t mean skipping gratification altogether, it can also mean just downgrading it.



Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list.


Modify to Moderation

How often you do something effects aspects like enjoyment and expenses. If you’re at Starbucks every day then not only will it get pricey but that caramel macchiato may not taste as great because of over saturation (OKAY it definitely will) but the idea is to place yourself on a consumer diet. You can cut back on your weekly/monthly/yearly intake of shopping/eating out/pampering without completely stopping the things you enjoy like going to the mall or that cute, pricey restaurant downtown. Spread out how often you visit places that encourage you to buy, buy, BUY!

Any healthy, effective diet allows you to indulge a little to keep you from falling off the wagon. I try to give myself a small break of dinner and a movie once a month like discussed in Fajitas and Feeling Myself because no one wants to be all work (or delayed gratification) and no play. It’s important for your mental health to do the things you enjoy but it’s equally important to your wallet to do so in moderation.


Budget to Your Benefit

Whenever I go to the mall, Barnes & Nobles, or my favorite coffee place, I go in with a set amount that I’ve saved up just for the occasion. I usually go to my coffee shop 1 to 2 times every two weeks and the mall every couple of months (because I can honestly find whatever I need cheaper somewhere else, so I go solely for the atmosphere). Whether I place my money cap at $5 up to $25; I know that I have a set amount I’m not going above. I treat my personal enjoyment outings like a trip to the grocery store with a mental list of what I want out of my experience.  If my goal is to enjoy the company of 10 strangers while reading Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou then I really have no desire to spend on others things like the huge brownie staring at me from the barista’s counter. Which brings me to the next point…


Game Plan

Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list. Going with a specific purpose works wonders. When you have no idea what you want out of your experience you could end up overspending.

Going to Soule Cafe usually means I want to get some blogging or reading done so picking water over a huge mug of delicious coffee only slightly hurts. And for the ones that are saying, “Why not just stay home?” the answer to that lies within the fact that many creative types have a certain place or zone that stimulates their craft. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice that place unless you find it particularly difficult to stick to your original game plan. I personally still feel gratified having accomplished the task I set out to do in a soothing environment. When I go to the mall it’s because I want to be out and do something; If I walk away with one small Forever 21 bag with a $7 shirt in it, I still feel like…


because I effectively scratched the itch to shop while staying within my $20 budget and still have enough for a trip to the food court (WINNING!)

Heading out on a Saturday afternoon with a game plan I’ve concocted throughout the week helps me stay true to my emotional/mental needs as well as my financial ones.

In the mall

First I make a strategic B line for the $10 sales rack at Aeropostale; head straight up the middle of the mall (Avoiding all eye contact with kiosks!), tackle the stacks of sales books at Barnes and Nobles then rush the end zone (parking lot) for the win! BOOO-YAAA.

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How do you conquer YOUR consumerism? Comment below and Let’s Talk. 


5 replies
    DGGYST says:

    I have become so heinously materialistic anymore lol I used to be so disciplined, now, look at me, I’m shopping online as I write this comment….

  2. driftyness
    driftyness says:

    Ughhh I hate delayed gratification, but I hear you, it’s so important. I just wish I knew WHEN things would pay off, though. Do you have some long term goal in mind when you’re making sure you’re sticking to your budget? I have some, but I don’t always see the connection between what I’m doing and my goals because they feel so far away.

    I like the idea of setting a spending limit when I go out. I usually don’t buy anything, but when I find myself in a situation where I do, I get kind of carried away. Was toying with the idea of getting a little notebook to track my expenses when I’m out (I forget them all the time), but I’ll see if I can manage with setting limits. Thanks for the tips!

    • letsbuildfutures
      letsbuildfutures says:

      I love the notebook idea, I think when we swipe our card or paypal to pay for drinks or leisure activities that it’s easy to get carried away. It may help taking cash with you on your outtings and sticking only to the amount you set before you venture out. It makes you more conscious of your spending in that way.

      As far as long term goals I would say that we I am able stick to a budget because I want to get out of the dredded student loan debt and do things my childhood family never got to do like travel to multiple countries or go into a mall and not immediately look at the price tag of a dress I love in an affordable store. Not stress in general about the small things like car gas, groceries, or feeling guilty when I buy things for myself or others. Those are my mental goals that help me remember the “why” behind every sacrifice or when I tell myself “no” I do it because I know if I stay on track for the next few years that I will be able to do things I never could before.

      Finding your “why” behind delayed gratification is super important. If you don’t have a why then when you tell yourself “No, don’t buy that.” and the inner spender in you asks “why?” you won’t have a response; now you’re walking out of Forever 21 with five bags of clothes and no actual shoes to wear that go with them LOL I would say define your short term and long terms goals and place the pros and cons of your budget or delayed gratification alongside them so that what you ultimately want is clearly defined and not clouded by what you immediately want. I think this would also be another great blog post; let me know you thoughts about it all! and thanks for reading!

      • driftyness
        driftyness says:

        Great discussions make me all happy inside, so thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment! Sometimes it’s a struggle getting them going as a blogger. But when they do…❤❤

        Ok, so I’m on board when it comes to having a “why.” I think where I’m struggling is feeling like my goals/dreams are out of reach, so it’s like why try anyway? I still do, but it just feels like I’m working for nothing sometimes. Working on thinking more positively, though.

        I love your “why” and how deeply-rooted it seems to be. Like you revisit it everyday to keep going. I see your hustle, girl. And I love it.

        Love the idea of defining my short & long term goals with pros & cons. Sounds like just what I need to have a clear vision. I’m gonna try that, thank you.

        And YES, I want a whole blog post!

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