In today’s world we seem to be constantly attacked by our society to increase or spending of money. The biggest discovery of marketers during the 20th century was exceedingly simple, create a need that isn’t there and soon you will have a ton of people buying products they didn’t need before but they don’t really know they can do without. Our current society is filled with impulse buyers, people with a general lack of financial intelligence and an over-focus on the spending of money while the making of money is generally restricted to the “time equals money trap” in which people work endless hours to get the buying power to get the things they so desperately crave. On today’s article I will write about this current problem and how you can truly reflect upon your needs and make a much more efficient use of your money without negatively affecting your happiness.

Why is it that we buy things ? This is the main question marketing has asked for the past hundred years and it is definitely a very important and relevant question for those people out there who want to be making money. How do I get you to give me your money for something I can give you. The answer was very simple. You will buy things you will need. The creation of “need” then became one of the pillars of modern marketing. If we can get everyone around you own a horse, then you will feel like an idiot if you don’t own one. Even if the need for a horse is not actually present, the actual overwhelming presence of the horse will make you feel like you need it. Cycling needs, making people dump the horse and buy a mule a few months later, is the culprit of marketing and the oiling of the consumer spending machine. People create a need, then change that need for another, requiring you to spend more money to keep up with your current needs.

There are several examples that can show you this pretty clearly. Ten years ago you bought a 30 inch TV which showed you colors and a good image, years later you changed for a plasma, then an LCD, then digital television, now a 3D LCD Television and the list will continue on and on. Not only is it vital to create a need but changing that need periodically to trigger new spending is one of the most important aspects of successful marketing of products.

However – for you and me – this has very bad consequences. We are born and raised in a society that rewards the fulfillment of these needs as success. When I moved into my new apartment and I told my mom that I wouldn’t be getting a TV or a phone line. She was shocked. I told her that I didn’t need those things since my Internet service could provide both but yet, she was somehow appalled at my rejection of these services. When I got a 10 USD cellphone instead of a blackberry, she was also kind of disturbed. My reply was simple – I need to make and receive calls – why would I need to spend more money ?

Clearly I am not saying here that you should go and live in a cave fulfilling only your most basic needs. What I am saying is that you should really think more about your purchases and reflect upon if you really need what you are buying. Think about making a purchase and then picture yourself and your purchase a few months later. Will you be using it ? Will it be forgotten ? My step dad bought a Wii a PS3 and a 50 inch LCD just on an impulse buy. Two years later there is a thick dust cover over the PS3 showing that dust mites have had more fun with it than him.

In the end, it comes to fulfilling your real needs and not the needs society or marketing wants to make you believe you have. If you have a family of 5 and you need an SUV to travel comfortably, then absolutely do so. However if you are buying a 200K USD car that could do the same as a 20K USD car then you are most likely spending the money because you want people to believe you are successful. What I am saying here is think about what you are buying, think, really thing about all your purchases. Warren Buffet, after many years and a lot of success, continues to live in the same house he lived years ago – when he wasn’t that successful – and his luxuries are few and well controlled. The success of the man is not determined by the size of his toys :).

My advice for you is absolutely simple, focus on your ability to make money more than on your ability to spend money. Spending money should be a minor portion of where your income goes, buying that game, TV or that additional car you could perfectly do without and instead spending money on money making alternatives is what a financially intelligent individual would do. Spending on money making ventures will not only allow you to have a larger income but it will also allow you to eventually quit your job and achieve financial freedom.