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Beware of the lifestyle flu! | How we arrive at over consumption

Excessive or over consumption. I call it the flu. Lifestyle flu.

Because it slowly creeps into your wallet without you even noticing. Lifestyle flu happens when higher income automatically leads to more spending.

The growing economy of recent decades has fostered excessive consumerism. Shopping has become a hobby, for pastime or buying off a bad feeling.

A growing bank account often leads to a growing need for the more sophisticated, qualitative or special things in life or increasingly impulse purchases.

Think of more expensive cars, exotic hobbies, designer clothes, gourmet pleasures, gadget enthusiasm, memberships, exorbitant and very frequent trips or outings.

As you earn more, increasing structural expenses as well as impulse purchases lurk. These are often unconscious mega devourers. I'm talking about addictions here: to food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, and shopping, for example. As income rises, women spend more and more money on clothing and external care. Men seek a new expensive hobby and go biking, gaming, boating, fishing or golfing. And of course, all the gear for that must be purchased at once.

You get the idea. You still won't have a penny left over at the end of the month.

But why do people do this?

We spend eagerly out of social pressure to especially keep up with our neighbors or friends. In America, they call this mechanism "keeping up with the Joneses": a scientifically proven phenomenon that shows that people consume more and more conspicuously when others around them do the same.

Conspicuous consumption, as the American sociologist Thorstein Veblen called it in 1899 - of luxury goods is so contagious, in fact, that neighbors go into debt just to join in.

Research on the neighbors of lotto winners shows this. Over consumption by lotto millionaires puts pressure on neighbors to spend more on stuff themselves. In fact, the social pressure is so great that credit card and mortgage debts, and thus bankruptcy filings, of neighbors increase significantly in neighborhoods where large lotto prizes have fallen.

Hanneke van Onna Money coach over consumptie

Once you get used to your newly acquired lifestyle, it's hard to go back. Right, and then you are caught in the rat race of life: working hard to maintain your lifestyle.

Is there a way out?


Feel free to contact me!

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