The last 12 months has been filled with economic uncertainty. We have had government spending and bailouts at unheard of levels. People have even said the government is taking over the banking industry. Unemployment is at a multi-decade high. Real estate prices have fallen 50% or more in many areas. Not long ago, some people were even predicting a great global depression.Now that those fears have been alleviated and the economy appears to be on the road to recovery, the pressure to shop is at an all time high. The internet is an outstanding source of information, and sales and shopping information is no exception. Sites like DealNews have been a boon to shoppers everywhere. As Black Friday approaches, the scent of good deals has already thrown many into a buying frenzy.
However, many people think that we are not out of the proverbial financial woods. Unemployment is still high, and expected to increase over the next year. In addition, the government creates the unemployment statistics, and many people say that they are not accurate. Some researchers are believe that the unemployment rate is actually 17%.
If the economy is in uncertain shape, and unemployment is high, then why is there so much focus on shopping? Perhaps the reason is that human psychology is not quickly changed by circumstances. Even though there is no money, and people are worried about the financial future, they are still compelled to buy stuff.
Our economy is driven by a consumer mentality. 95% of the people in this country spend all the money that they make. And many spend a little bit more. These spending habits are deeply ingrained in our psychology. Just because we don’t have any money or the fact that we feel uncertain about the future does not prevent us from spending. We simply borrow money to buy what we want.
All this can be understood with the simple idea that psychology trumps circumstance. This means that our habits and thinking are powerful patters that do not easily change. We are so attached to our current ways of thinking, that we tend to continue doing the same things, even when the situation around us changes. That’s why even though it may not make financial sense, our habits of shopping do not adjust to the current financial situation.
So what’s the solution? I think that if we take a break from our old thought patterns, previous habits, and shopping, we might notice that all the stuff we want to buy is not as important as we once thought. Although it is great to buy a new car, computer or Plasma TV, it does not take long for the pleasure and excitement to wear off. Soon we are disillusioned, and start looking for the next thing to buy.
This simply leads to a circle of consumption that never serves us. The more we buy, the more we want to buy. This may be a powerful thought pattern, but it does not control us. We are free to look at it and decide if that is what we really want for ourselves. We are free to stop buying stuff and start thinking about what the items will really give us.