Monday, January 27, 2014

Affluenza Alert!!

After watching some of the craziness around Black Friday and shopping last month, I wanted to put out a warning that this type of feeding frenzy isn't always so obviously doing harm to ourselves and others.

Some statistics you may or may not know:

1. The average American has 5 credit cards! (If they all have a $2000 limit, that's an easy $10,000 debt just in credit cards).

2. 41% of Americans have less than $500 in savings! And 2/3 of us say we're living paycheck to paycheck. (donkey

3. Anxiety, depression and high blood pressure are all at all time highs. As a health professional this is the scariest statistic. It seems our health is suffering greatly because of willingness/need to go into debt. Much of the debt is for things we don't really NEED.

PBS put out a semi-humorous video on this topic several years ago. Here's a clip:

For some help with the disease, here are some recommendations:

Try these handy tips for beating Affluenza!

1. Before you buy, ask yourself:

  • Do I need it? 
  • Do I want to dust (dry-clean or otherwise maintain) it?
  • Could I borrow it from a friend, neighbor or family member?
  • Is there anything I already own that I could substitute for it?
  • Are the resources that went into it renewable, or non-renewable? 
  • How many hours will I have to work to pay for it? 

(Note: Before you do this, you may find it useful to figure your real hourly wage. Take your annual net income and subtract your work-related costs like clothing, transportation, child care, parking and lunches out.

2. Avoid the mall. Go hiking or play ball with the kids instead.

3. Figure out what public transportation can save you (time, money for gas and parking, peace of mind).

4. Become an advertising critic. Don't be sucked in by efforts to make you feel inadequate so you'll buy more stuff you don't need.

5. Volunteer for a school or community group.

6. Splurge consciously. A few luxuries can be delightful, and they don't have to be expensive.

7. Stay in -- have a potluck, play a game, bake bread, write a letter, cuddle a loved one.

8. Make a budget -- know how much you are earning and spending. Each dollar represents precious time in your life that you worked. Are you spending money in ways that fulfill you?

9. Pretend the Joneses are the thriftiest, least wasteful people on the block. Then try to keep up with them.

10. For even more ideas, watch Affluenza.

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