Is it possible to learn how to be less materialistic? It's no secret that our society is placing an increasingly heavy focus on material possessions. The constant pursuit of more and more stuff has become so ingrained in our culture that it's often hard to even imagine what life would be like without it.
But what if we all took a step back and reconsidered our priorities? What if we focused less on buying things we don't need and more on developing meaningful relationships and enjoying the simple pleasures in life?
Here are some tips on how to stop being materialistic to help you discover the joy in simplicity.
Am I materialistic? What does being materialistic mean?
Many people equate being materialistic with having a lot of money, gadgets, new toys, and possessions.
While it is true that some people who live this way may have more than others, the definition of materialism can be much broader than that.
It can also mean focusing on the physical world and what it can offer rather than looking to the spiritual or intellectual side. It means valuing things like wealth, status, and appearances over qualities like kindness, compassion, and intelligence.
Do you think you might be materialistic? Check out the characteristics below and see if you identify with any of them.
Characteristics of a materialistic person
In today’s culture, it is easy to become materialistic. Especially since we're constantly bombarded with advertisements that promote the latest trends in fashion, electronics, and jewelry.
It may even seem that successful people own a lot of material items. So what are the characteristics of a materialistic person? Here are some of them.
They value possessions more than relationships
People who crave materialistic wealth can often become more interested in the things they own than in the people around them.
Some may even have a difficult time building and maintaining relationships because they're so focused on acquiring material possessions that they end up neglecting their family and friends.
They care about others’ opinions
Materialistic people often base their self-image on their possessions and the image they project to others. And they tend to care about what others think of them.
That is why they might resort to acquiring flashy possessions to show off to others. For example, flashy cars, diamond rings, designer bags, etc.
They often brag about what they have
Most people like to show off what they have. It could be a new car, a new phone, or just the fact that they were able to get something that others wanted. But this behavior especially rings true for materialistic people.
They tend to brag quite a bit about their possessions and show them off to anyone who will listen. And while there’s nothing wrong with having nice things, it can become a problem when it becomes more important than anything else in your life.
Their home is cluttered with stuff they don’t need
One of the characteristics of a materialistic person is they often find themselves making impulse purchases because of their insatiable thirst for more.
7 Actionable tips on how to be less materialistic
Materialistic desires don't just come from within. They also stem from social pressures that tell us we need certain things to live happy lives. Here are some actionable tips on how to stop being materialistic and start valuing other things in life.
1. Limit your social media consumption
When we constantly see images of people's luxurious lives on social media, it can make us feel like we're not living up to our full potential.
But if we limit our social media consumption, we'll be less likely to be influenced by others' material possessions. We'll be more content with what we have and not feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.
2. Value experiences over material things
One way to become the opposite of materialistic is to start valuing experiences more than materials. When we focus on experiences, we tend to be less concerned with acquiring more and more stuff.
And when we do acquire something new, it doesn’t have as much of an impact on our happiness levels. Mainly because the excitement of buying new material things is fleeting, while the memories of our experiences can stay with us for a long time.
3. Practice gratitude
Another powerful tip on how to stop being materialistic is to practice gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful tool that can help you break free from the chains of materialism and live a more content life.
When you take the time to be thankful for what you have instead of always wanting more, you'll find that your focus shifts. You'll start appreciating the things you own more. And eventually, stop feeling the need to constantly buy new things.
You might try the practice of gratitude journaling in order to remind yourself of all the great things you already have. And you can be grateful beyond just things, also for family, friends, your home, etc.
4. Declutter your living space
Decluttering your life can help you learn how to stop being materialistic! A decluttered space allows you to relax and focus on what's important. On the other hand, having too much clutter can create a negative impact.
If you choose to declutter, you're not constantly being pulled in different directions by the things around you. With an organized area, you can now calmly assess each item and decide whether it deserves a place in your life.
This process of reflection leads to a more mindful approach to living, which in turn can help reduce materialism.
5. Indulge in healthy hobbies
Gardening, for example, can help us appreciate the beauty of nature and understand our place in the world.
Crafting can allow us to express ourselves creatively and connect with other people. While sketching and drawing can help us to see the world from a new perspective.
6. Shift your focus onto the needs of others
When our focus is on helping other people, it becomes much easier to stop worrying about what kind of car we drive or what brand of clothes we wear.
Start small if you have to. Then begin shifting your focus from yourself to others, and having a lot of things will become less important over time.
When you start being concerned for other people's needs instead of just your own, materialism starts to lose its appeal. You will notice yourself becoming the opposite of materialistic!
7. Realize that you can’t take it with you
When we come to terms with the fact that everything we have in this life is temporary, it can help us become less attached to material things.
In other words, when we realize we can't take any of our possessions with us, it makes us less interested in accumulating things. It isn't easy for most people to do, but it's a valuable perspective to have.
Why we should be less materialistic
It can be hard to be the opposite of materialistic because we live in a society where materialism is rampant. We are bombarded with ads that tell us we need to buy things and have more stuff. But there are many benefits to being less materialistic and not having an addiction to material things.
More time for other pursuits
One of these benefits is the increased time you spend on other pursuits. For example, having quality experiences with loved ones instead of spending all your money on possessions.
Not always buying reduces waste and anxiety
Not buying every new material item that comes out helps reduce waste and save our planet.
Another benefit is reduced anxiety levels when you don't base your self-worth on the things you have.
You can save more money
Since you won't be inclined to buy up a bunch of stuff, you can save more money for things like vacations or perhaps doing something nice for someone else.
So, there are many benefits you will reap by living a simpler life with fewer things.
Am I materialistic? quiz
So, are you still not sure if you are a materialistic person? Well, we've come up with a fun quiz to help you figure out how materialistic you might be!
Q1: How attached are you to material possessions?
- I’d fall into a deep depression if I lost all of my possessions.
- I’d be quite upset if I lost my possessions, but I’ll probably recover within a few days.
- I don’t care too much about losing my possessions. I’m alive, and that’s all that matters.
Q2: When you go on a date with someone, what interests you the most about them?
- The amount of money they have.
- The way they dress and present themselves.
- Their personality.
Q3: How do you feel when you see someone driving a fancy car?
- I feel jealous and envious since I deeply crave having the same lifestyle and social status.
- Seeing their success makes me happy.
- I don’t feel much since I don’t desire to own fancy cars.
Q4: How often do you daydream about owning designer clothes?
- Every single day.
- Once or twice a week.
Q5: You just received your monthly paycheck. What do you do with the money?
- Spend every single penny of it on material possessions and luxury goods.
- Spend half of it on material possessions and save the other half.
- Save and invest the majority of it.
How materialistic you are based on your quiz results
Here are the results from our "Am I Materialistic?" quiz!
1. You’re quite materialistic
If you found yourself answering mostly 1's, then you might be quite materialistic! You might love to shop and often daydream about owning expensive designer items such as Birkin handbags or Balenciaga shoes.
2. You like the idea of “frugal materialism”
Did you answer mostly 2's? Then you might be a frugal materialist! Though you enjoy owning nice material goods, you also try to shop intentionally rather than constantly.
Sure, you might splurge once in a while. But at least your savings account balance looks nice and healthy.
3. You don’t care much about material possessions
If you answered mostly 3's, then you're the opposite of materialistic. You're quite content with what you already have and genuinely don't feel the need or desire to purchase more. For you, living a life of simplicity matters more than a life of luxury!
No matter what your results were from our "Am I materialistic?" quiz, remember you can use our tips to learn how to be less materialistic! You can always aspire to be better and make positive changes.
Learn how to be less materialistic and value experiences more than material things!
While caring less about materialistic things may seem daunting, there are ways to make this transition easier.
And remember that wanting material things isn't always bad. You can own luxury items without being greedy or envious. It's more about your attitude.
By evaluating our motivations for buying things and being more thoughtful about the purchases we make, we can gradually become less reliant on material possessions for happiness and fulfillment. You may be surprised that living on less can lead to a much more meaningful life!