The holiday shopping frenzy is well underway, and if you’re like me, you’re being inundated with emails, ads, and Facebook posts urging you to buy things. Even though many of us feel the main point of the tiny house movement is to reduce materialism and mindless consumption, tiny house products are being thrust at us with the same intensity as the Wonder Wallet and Nicer Dicer.
Here are tips on how to stay true to values of minimalism and thoughtful consumption.
- Recognize marketing hype for what it is: a lure to draw your money into someone else’s pocket. It’s not about offering you a great value for something you truly need. It’s about getting you to spend on something you wouldn’t if not for the spiel. You know it’s hype when it contains these things:
- Extreme adjectives (like amazing, fantastic, awesome, incredible) and CAPITALIZED WORDS or lots of exclamation points!!!!
- Time limits: “This offer ends in just a few days so if you’re interested, order now so you don’t end up forgetting and kicking yourself for missing out… don’t wait too long or it will be gone forever.” Words like “last chance,” “time is running out,” and “act now!” may repeated throughout the ad, intending to create a sense of urgency so you’ll buy something that you wouldn’t if you gave it more thought.
- A little too chummy: You may see a pitch like “I’m making this offer exclusively to my friends,” in an email from someone you’ve never actually met. Targeted email might also use your first name as a greeting and in the body of the text, suggesting you have a relationship with the sender.
- Questions to gain commitment: “Isn’t that an amazing deal?,” Can you imagine how this would look in your home?” Or ask you to make choices, like “Which color would look best?”
- Value: the price is steeply discounted. “90% discount! All of these products, if you took the time to buy them separately, would cost you $500. But right now you can get them all with one easy payment of $49.99!!” When you see an ad that claims an excessive value, don’t you wonder what the scoop is – are the products not really worth that much, is something wrong with them, or are the sellers really going to take a big loss on them?
- It goes on and on: “But wait, there’s more!” “And that’s not all!!” The ad keeps sweetening the deal, throwing in additional products, free shipping, and promising even more freebies if you buy in the next few minutes.
- Resist hype by thinking through each purchase for yourself:
- Do you really need this type of item (book, t-shirt, etc.)?
- Do you really need this specific item – is it the best combination of quality, price, beauty and utility that you can find?
- Is this the right time to make this purchase?
- Is there a better use for your money?
- Do you have room for it?
- Do you truly want to buy a gift or are you just following the custom?
- Are you overspending to compensate for issues in the relationship? If yes, is there a better way to show this person you care?
- Is the item something that will bring joy? Is it well made? Will you feel good giving it?
This holiday season, be strong, be true to your values, and keep control of your spending. When the New Year comes, you’ll be glad you did!