Consumerism and money anxiety

This isn’t the type of post i usually write or share but i felt the need to share my thoughts on this topic, just incase others can relate.

Sometimes when i think about consumerism and how much is bought and spent everyday i feel a little panicked. Or, part of me feels shocked at the amount that is bought and spent each day and most of it is most likely just spontaneous shopping. But the other part of me wishes i could be like that…. wishes that i could just go into a store and buy the thing i need or want.

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I have money related anxiety. And it’s rather bad. I don’t know why i feel this way around money and my family keeps reminding me that i should be happy and grateful that i have money and actually CAN buy the things i need or want. Of course that doesn’t mean i should spend money recklessly, but that i should see the opportunities that money brings and be thankful that i can buy things. I have grown up with parents that have worked hard for their money, we’ve neither been poor or rich, but we’ve been able to have a summer vacation most years and we’ve had food on the table and new clothes when needed. An average family economy so to say, but i know my parents have worked hard for their money so even as a child i never wanted to spend my parents money. Instead i would save up all the money i had whether it was from work i did or money i got for my birthday or christmas. And then after saving up for months i would secretly go buy the thing i wanted so badly and not tell my parents because i didn’t want them to buy it for me.

I’ve always been a saver. I save all my money, which is a good thing. I realise that in the future when i plan to buy my own apartment, maybe my own car, maybe travel it is good to have a buffer and that’s why i don’t really spend money on things unless it is an absolute necessity, or something i really want and have planned for a long time such as a tattoo. Though i find it easier to buy gifts for others, spend money on tattoos and buy food but when it comes to material items such as clothes, shoes, plates, bed sheets i always feel like “is it really necessary?”…. i have 2 plates and 2 cups, i have one bed sheet do i really need more?

I have this constant anxiety related to money and can have full blown panic attacks just related to money such as if i really need or want something but don’t feel like i should buy it for some unknown reason then i can get alot of anxiety. Often i wish that i could just spend money and not care, but at the same time i know that saving money is going to benefit me in the long term because you never know what will happen and i rather not be in an emergency situation and not have any saved up money. But also knowing that if i need to make an investment into something whether it’s an apartment, car, my business etc then i will have the money for it. But it would be kind of nice to be able to just buy a new hair straightener or buy a new computer because mine is on its last lifeline and not feel the anxiety taking over each time i think about spending money.

Sometimes i wish consumerism wasn’t a thing, that money didn’t exist. I wish that people could just trade, do nice things and money wasn’t a thing. Of course i know that that would never work because people are greedy, not everyone would be a nice person or do nice things. But also because money is power…. that’s how i see it when i do my food shopping anyway, that by choosing vegan foods i am showing that there is an interest and demand for these products and less demand and interest for the non vegan foods. So money does have power and consumerism CAN make a change if it done right.

Also sometimes i feel so panicked when i think about how clothes and products are made and the child labour that is behind the items people buy.  Most often the cheapest clothes are produced by workers with minimum wage and extreme work conditions… all of that so that you can buy a cheap top or pants. Of course that doesn’t mean that the super expensive clothes are any better, it can be just as awful work conditiions behind those clothes as well.

Consumerism and spending money… it is just one huge ball of anxiety for me. I don’t know if i will ever feel “ok” with money, i really shouldn’t let it control me, but sometimes it feels like i will always have anxiety when spending money, that it will never be “pain free” and simple. Or, i am ok with spending money on food because i see it as a necessity and something i enjoy and need but when it comes to everything else i just don’t see it as necessary… i could survive with 1 pair of pants and 1 top… but is that practical… no not really.

Consumerism_as_the_new_religion

I don’t know why i am sharing this post or these thoughts, but maybe others can relate and have advice?

What are your thoughts about consumerism? What are your thoughts about spending money and are you a spender or a saver?

 

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. I would say I`m a saver – but that doesn’t mean that I won`t go and buy something I really want or if I see something that catches my eye in the shops and I like it that I won`t buy it. Having money saved up means I have a buffer in case I really need it but it also means I have money “spare” to spend on things that I want , need or just like!
    I have a strict weekly budget that I stick to for buying food, paying bills etc and each week I record my out goings in a notebook so I know exactly what I have spent and how much I have left over each week. I really find it helpful to keep a track of money in this way. Any spare money gets saved.
    I think you have to have a balance where money is concerned. Yes, it is nice to have money saved because you never know what is around the corner and you may need it. And it is good to be able to put money aside for the future. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy money in the here and now – feel able to go and buy something that you really want or need, or just go and buy something because you like it. I`m not talking about blowing vast sums but spending money on things you like rather than essentially need is ok now and again, and if you have some spare money after paying for all your outgoings there is no worries about over spending or getting into debt. I am a great believer of only spending money you actually have rather than getting into debt which is why I don`t have things such as credit cards etc. If I want something I would rather wait and save up for it rather than pay for it through a bank loan or credit card. I believe credit is far too easy to get in todays society – everything seems to be “buy now pay later” and I really don`t think that is a good position to be in as you can so easily get into unmanageable debt and it encourages reckless spending.
    I don`t think you should feel scared of money or feel that it controls you. Because I have a weekly buget that I stick to I don`t feel anxiety where money is concerned because I know that I have enough to cover my outgoings. I don`t have to worry about getting into debt buying the things I need and for this I am grateful for because I know lots of people have money worries providing just basic essentials.
    If you have anxiety where money is concerned I would suggest working out a plan of all your necessary outgoings against the income you have coming in each week/month. That way you know exactly how much you are spending and whether you have any left over for other things. And to try not to feel guilty for spending money on yourself now and again. Money is to be valued but you can also enjoy it! If you have a sensible attitude towards spending there is no need to fear money or to deprive yourself because you don`t think something is practical or necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very true. I wish i could be more relaxed… i do have a monthly budget as that works best for me and even if i know i do have money to spend each month i just can’t justify it because i think “i dont know what will happen in the future” and “do i really need this item” and i find 100 reasons why i don’t need it… even if i really do. It’s so strange because i can be fully aware that i need new socks because all of my socks have holes in them, but it will still take me weeks to actually justify myself to buy new socks because i think “well i have socks, even if they have holes in them”. And i am completely aware of how silly that is, and my family keep trying to remind me that i need basic things and buying things i need isn’t selfish or wrong but a necessity and having nice things/things i want is ok as well. Hopefully someday i will find that balance and like you wrote, having a buffer is important but also knowing i can spend money and be ok with it. Thank you for your words and advice!

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  2. M. says:

    Hi Izzy,
    I have read people who have had AN in the past, or who still do now, write similar things. I wonder if the medical diagnosis of AN focuses on food/eating because that is what kills people, but if really the genetic makeup points people into wider ascetic tendencies, associated with all the kinds of emotions you suggest here? I really don’t know the answer to this, it is just an observation, I just wonder.
    Like eating/food, finance is complicated — it is necessary to nourish and sustain us, it has a very complicated social dimension, it has cultural and historical things attached to it…
    Anyway, I do hope you find balance in this area too, and I am sorry you suffer from the anxiety — but thank you for writing about it. Take care, I think you do amazing work.

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    1. Thank you. It definitely sucks to have so much anxiety around money and to feel controlled by it in a negative way. I have heard that other people with eating disorders have had similar problems… infact it feels like many of the problems i have, have had or still have are similar to other people who have had eating disorders. But as eating disorders aren’t really about food or weight, its not so strange that different problems may be similar in people who have had the same illness. Its definitely an interesting thought and something i have noticed alot. It’s most likely that people have the same sort of thinking, such as many who have had an eating disorder go vegan… some for restrictive reasons but others for ethical reasons and sometimes i wonder if there is something in the brain of those with an eating disorder that makes it easier for them to connect with the animals and feel empathy… or maybe it is just that they have done research regarding a vegan diet and realised the ethical benefits of it as well… who knows haha!

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  3. Lily says:

    The commentor above said it right. I can relate to this post as I had/have the same thoughts, that why should I buy anything else, than it is completely necessary. But I also have it with buying food and presents for others, unfortunately. But I can buy t-shirts pretty oftwn, haha. I remember having a case when I wanted to buy something, but then started overthinking and came to the conclusion that its unnecessary, and I almost ended up crying for not being able to decide… And I also feel guilty when others are telling me about their hard financial situation, like I know I should be grateful and I am, for having enough money, but I always feel like I shouldnt go out and drink/buy something with them, because then it will be too much burden.

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    1. I know that exact feeling. I’ve been close to crying before because trying to make a decision over buying something can be so increidbly hard. It sounds silly to someone who doesn’t have the same problems but it is so awful when you want or need to buy something but everything in your mind is trying to tell you that you don’t need it… when in fact you might need it. Not everything we have has to be absolutly necessary.. but it’s hard to convince my mind of that. Hopefully one day we will both find balance and peace with money and not let it control and affect us so much. Because sure saving is good, but we need to be able to spend money on the things we may need or want as well!

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  4. Fredrika says:

    Jag känner igen mig. Jag har alltid varit sparsam och det är ju bra till en viss gräns. Men ibland har jag svårt att köpa även sådant jag vill ha och behöver, trots att jag har pengar.

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    1. Jo precis, det är så svårt när de är något man verkligen vill ha eller behöv och man har pengarna att köpa de men man kan hitta 100 anledningar varför man borde inte köpa de 😦 Alla andra hittar 100 anledningar varför dem borde köpa något även om de inte har råd eller behöver men jag är motsatsen hahah.

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  5. Arctic Hare! says:

    Thank you for sharing! I can definitely relate. I’m glad to know I’m not the only who’s thought, ‘If we could just trade and do nice things mutually, all around!!’ I don’t have any solutions yet, although I have found shopping with someone else can help me to buy some things I (apparently, lol) need because they reassure me that yes this is needed. I was thinking about the consumerism side of this this morning when I heard that milk sales were down and I thought “oh good! Maybe now they’ll stop trying to make cows produce more milk than is good for them!” and right afterwards I realized “but more likely, with milk sales down they’ll keep trying to do that because taking care of 1 cow is less expensive than caring for 2 cows.” However, you’re right that in purchasing things we also are able to steer the market. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on this! 🙂

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  6. Here is a great idea for the holidays that you might like. If you do, please pass this along!

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