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It’s no secret that we live in a society that has an obsession with material possessions. We tend to own a lot of things, from gadgets to clothes, and we seem to be constantly looking for the next thing we can buy. Whether it be the latest smartphone, a new top, or even a book: there’s always something that we want.
The consumer society we live in doesn’t really help: we are surrounded by the temptation to buy new products through TV, radio, magazines and, of course, through email. I wake up every morning with around 10 emails from companies offering me some kind of deal or discount and with temptation like this, it’s difficult not to become enticed into buying something new – especially if it’s 20% off!
However, we should probably think about whether we really need to be spending our money on objects and think of the possibilities that saving this money could have. If we stopped spending on material possessions we would have more money to spend on actual experiences, things that will create memories and impact our life more than the new iPhone or a pair of trainers.
Even though we struggle financially as students, we can probably all admit to spending money on things we could live without, be it that sandwich from Subway or that hot chocolate from Greggs. Obviously it’s hard to save when your student loan leaves you with little to no money to spend on yourself. If you don’t have a part time job, saving tends to be quite difficult. Nevertheless, even putting aside a bit of money each week into a savings account or just skipping that unnecessary trip to Subway will gradually add up.
You could, for example, save for travelling. It could be something as little as a short weekend away or something bigger like interrailing or Camp America. Whatever you choose to do, by saving up and spending your money on visiting places you’ve never been to before, you will create life long memories and it’ll definitely benefit you as a person and even enhance your CV. If you choose to always spend your money on something material like a new gadget, you’ll miss out.
Trading your possessions for travelling isn’t the only option either. What about an experience you’ve always wanted to try, like skydiving? There are so many activities like this that I’m sure we all have on our bucket lists and that aren’t always that expensive. It may even be that you’re saving up for life after uni such as a car or a flat. Surely things like this are more important in the long term than something like a phone.
We all want to come out of university and life in general with good cultural experiences and let’s face it, that expensive coat or phone you bought whilst at uni is hardly going to be at the top of your list when you look back on your best university memories. It’s going to be about the experiences you’ve had, not the things you’ve bought. Obviously I’m not saying we should completely stop spending our money on material possessions – we all need a little retail therapy occasionally – but as we head into the new year, perhaps it is time that we do start thinking about where we spend our money and our long term gains rather than a few short term desires.