Save Money by Limiting Your Need to Impress

I believe that saving money is easy once you are able to keep under wrap your need to impress others. Because a lot of the money we spend is for getting our often-exaggerated social needs met.

As soon as a person makes enough money to cover her basic needs of food and shelter, she will start spending a big part of the extra money on things which are primarily intended to prove a certain status and to impress others.

We are often not aware of this, but we use the amount of money we make as a way to try to buy the approval of others and to climb the social ladder. Thus, we buy:

  • Big, highly polluting and expensive cars without really needing them;
  • Expensive clothes or accessories mainly for the famous brands;
  • The latest gadgets and technology, not for the practical benefits, but to be fashionable.

Our social needs are important and there is nothing wrong with wanting to impress others to a certain extent. But most of us take it way too far. In the world we live in, we are encouraged to prioritize what others think about us.

We learn to work hard, earn as much as we can and spend it to a large degree to impress others. And when we do this, we endanger our health, our budgets, our future and the environment we live in.

This is why it’s very important to be able to put a cap on our social needs and moderate our tendencies to buy stuff in order to impress others. Here are some practical tips to help you do this:

1. Accept that you may buy a lot of stuff primarily to impress others.

You may not want to see yourself as a people pleaser in this materialistic way, but it’s a possibility. And the only chance you have of seeing this for real is by accepting that it may be true.

2. Make a list on what you spend money on and evaluate what you really buy for yourself.

Did you buy that big plasma TV to enhance your movie viewing experiences, or to impress your friends when they come over? Try to evaluate this realistically, and you may find out that wanting to impress your friends played a big role.

3. Imagine you cannot impress.

This is a powerful exercise to help you discover what you’re buying mostly to impress others. You pretend that somehow, you cannot impress others no matter what you do or buy, and you ask yourself what would you spend your money on then?

Whatever gets left behind is what you currently buy primarily to impress others.

4. Realize that impressing others is not that important.

Although we are commonly taught that if people around us disapprove or judge us it’s something terrible, in practice you will find out that judging by effects, it’s quite OK. Sure, it may be nice to impress people; but if you don’t, it’s not really a big deal.

I think that realizing how little approval you actually need and how putting a lot of effort, spending a lot of money to get it is not worth it, is the best way to seriously cut down your costs.

This mental leap is one of the most valuable things you can do for your personal development and your finances. It will free you of the need to earn a lot, and so it will free your time to do things which you truly find enjoyable.

Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. He helps others to improve people skills they find relevant and get top notch results. He also writes on his blog, People Skills Decoded.

(Main post image from Flickr, by myhsu)

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