This guest post is from Paula Pant of Afford Anything, the blog that believes money should never hinder your dreams.
I have a confession. Normally I spend a lot of time emphasizing the importance of cultivating habits that reduce your desire to spend.
But I have one habit that makes me want to spend more money. Itâ€™s a practice â€“ something I do almost daily â€“ that convinces me that my current lifestyle isnâ€™t good enough. Itâ€™s reading.
Yes, reading makes me want to spend more.
I avoid watching TV not only to steer clear of commercials but also to keep away from images and expectations â€“ of the Real Housewives, of the Kardashians, of the Bachelorette â€“ that make me think that those luxurious digs are normal, baseline standards.
But Iâ€™m a sucker for reading magazines. I read everything I can get my hands on. I love â€˜em.
The more magazines I read, the more dissatisfied I am with my life.
Decorating magazines make me realize my life is devoid of granite countertops. Fashion magazines make me reflect on my sub-par wardrobe. Travel magazines make me want to buy an airline ticket immediately. Even â€œpracticalâ€ magazines for working moms (I told you I read everything!) make me realize Iâ€™m not hosting good enough dinner parties.
Whatâ€™s strange is that my buying impulses change based on what magazine is in my hands at that precise second. If Iâ€™m lounging around on a Saturday reading a huge stack of magazines, I can feel my â€˜wantsâ€™ shift as I switch from title to title.
One second Iâ€™m thinking about how my wineglasses arenâ€™t very elegant. The next second Iâ€™m wondering if we can build an arbor in the backyard.
The solution? Either give up magazines entirely (haha! not likely!) or focus on titles that reinforce what I want to want. Thatâ€™s awkward phrasing â€“ â€œwhat I want to wantâ€ â€“ but Iâ€™m not editing it out because it succinctly states my point. Our reading material creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read more about the type of life you hope to build, and soon youâ€™ll build it.
So I read magazines about money, entrepreneurship and motivation â€“ not because those are the first titles to grab my attention (my attention goes straight to celebrity gossip), but because it illustrates the types of titles which I hope will grab my attention down the road.
What if I canâ€™t resist a great fashion or home remodeling magazine? I pick the one thatâ€™s aimed at a budget-savvy readership, not the one that caters to luxury brand advertisers.
Photo Credit: Karen Horton