As a reforming bookaholic and bargain shopper, I recently borrowed—borrowed, please note—a fascinating audiobook from the library, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, by Ellen Ruppell Shell. It’s all about consumerism and it focuses particularly on discount stores—which happen to be the site of many of my purchases that I later regret. The book was a revelation. It taught me how carefully, how subtly, how diabolically marketers work to create an artificial feeling of need in consumers likes me.
This new knowledge intensifies my motivation to kick the overshopping habit. I don’t want to be a tool of the marketplace, but rather a sentient being who makes independent choices. Now that I realize how many of my “needs” are in fact merely desires I’ve been manipulated into having, I’m finding myself better able to step away from that process.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.