The common quote ‘money buys happiness’ indicates our happiness comes from what we are able to buy. Although this does factor into the quality of life you live, it doesn’t necessarily affect our emotional well-being or does it.
What is Consumerism?
Consumerism of goods often leads to a materialistic attachment to possessions. From a young age, we are often brought up wanting to join in on the latest trends, whether this is toys or clothes. The use of advertisement creates a desire to be up to date with the latest gadgets and fashions, periodic events such as Christmas, Easter, birthdays and such like only exasperate these attachments through mainly media or keeping up with the Joneses.
So, does owning more, make us happy?
Owning more material objects can certainly make life easier for example owning a dishwasher vs washing by hand. It makes life much easier to stick those dirty pans in a washer, and after a short cycle, all the hard work is done for you. This certainly isn’t essential but would be classed as a luxury item.
My father despite his age is an avid collector of sneakers, I asked him recently does buying more sneakers make him happier, now my dad has an unnecessary amount stacked away and a lot of these sneakers don’t see the light of day. His reply was “I enjoy collecting sneakers and I get a buzz or excited from gaining a new pair that could be limited edition but that soon wears off, I don’t get any buyer’s remorse, but I do sometimes think could I spend or save my money better than I do now, but I have a good job and I can afford to splash out when I want too but then I see a new pair and buy those. To me, it’s a guilty pleasure and I enjoy the feel and look of the sneakers”.
What my dad experiences here could be classed as impulse buying, when he makes a new purchase the release of endorphins gives him this buzz he craves. So, is it the buzz of endorphins that makes him buy or does he have genuine affection for buying more sneakers?
Consumerism within the media
Let’s take a look at the Kardashians, by watching their show, even looking at their social media. It’s clear the amount of stuff they own is next level, with walk-in wardrobes for gym wear alone and garages full of supercars. You could quite literally, never have to buy anything again. From the perspective online, when watching the hauls, they post, we are greeted with smiles and high-pitched voices. Making us believe that have the perfect lifestyle that many desires for themselves. However, from watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians we get to witness them from a different perspective than how they portray themselves on social media.
We witness arguments, fights and crying at least every other episode, which would make us
believe they are not always happy. Some may say this is just real life, however, despite what they own they still have to deal with the struggles of everyday relationships. Kanye West previously was addicted to drugs, this would suggest to us that regardless of what he owns he still felt as though something was missing, not being truly happy with his lifestyle.
The minimalist lifestyle
We’ve recently seen a rise in people becoming minimalists. Minimalism is the idea that, while deep-rooted in the grounded life of simplicity and value, it contains an ideal world that leads you to a place without constraints. Over the past decade, we have seen more celebrities such as Steve Jobs and Robert Pattinson and everyday people converting to the minimalist lifestyle, this is due to the range of benefits it has. It is believed that the sense of freedom that comes from minimalism is truly refreshing. You will no longer feel tied to the material possessions in your home and you’ll feel a new sense of independence. With the generalised belief that owning less makes you happier.
Overall, I think your own viewpoint and values, truly effects whether more makes you happy. This could be day to day happiness to brief pockets of euphoria after making a purchase.