If nobody could see the things you have, would you still want them?
You can probably close your eyes right now and think of a purchase you've made within the last year that you bought because someone else encouraged you to or because it was trendy. You got home, got it out of the box, and immediately had buyer's remorse for spending money on something you didn't really want but felt persuaded to buy.
Hopefully, the purchase you're picturing is something cheap that you didn't lose too much sleep over. However, in today's society, it's easy to get persuaded into buying major purchases that you can't afford, just for show. Every year, people go into debt buying cars, houses, designer items, etc., just to keep up with the Joneses.
So, how do you prevent yourself from overspending in the material world we live in today?
Live Within Your Means
Only buy things that you can afford. Take a hard look at your income, create a budget, and muster the self-control to stick to it. When you choose to spend money you don't have on items you don't need, you only end up hurting yourself. It's easy to start a snowball of debt and quickly get into financial trouble when you're trying to live outside of your means.
Set Spending Limits
There's nothing wrong with buying nice items if you have the money to spend on them. However, set spending limits. If you plan to purchase a new car or designer item, set a limit on what you're willing to spend; that way, you're not swayed by the sparkle and persuaded to overspend.
Remind Yourself that No One Has It All
We've all heard the famous phrase, "money can't buy happiness." And although it can buy fancy things and a perfect façade, it's important to remember that no one has it all. No matter how much you buy and spend, there will always be something else you just "have to have." If you spend money and buy things for show, you'll always want more, and there will be a never-ending void.
So, the next time you're tempted to over-spend on a current trend or major purchase, ask yourself, "if nobody could see this, would I still want it?"