A. When I first saw my closet, I thought that it was big enough to fit all my stuff. However, over the years I have accumulated a lot of clothes. At one point, my closet was so full, it couldn’t even close completely. My closet wasn’t the only problem. There was clutter everywhere in my room. I noticed that I kept buying things even if I had something similar in my closet with the tags still on. And the thing is, I didn’t have the kind of money to keep up with my spending habits. Many of us spend money that we don’t have.  B. A growing concern in the US today is that we spend more than our means.  C. As a college student, I can relate to money being tight while pursuing a degree.  D. Let’s talk about additional issues with our finances.BODYII. STEP TWO:–2 minutes A. Causes Debt 1. Excessive consumerism causes debt. 2. No matter how happy you are when you buy something, eventually the feeling fades and we are left with big bills that unfortunately do not fade. According to Gallup data, the average American owns 3.5 credit cards and has $16,883 in credit card debt – totaling a consumer debt of $2.43 trillion in the US alone. As stated by a survey done by CNN, 68% of Americans surveyed live paycheck to paycheck. According to their survey, these households have less than $800 to cover them until their next paycheck. Additionally, according to an article published in the New York Times called: “The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting and the New Consumer”, the national savings rate has also plummeted. The average American household currently saves only 3.5 percent of its disposable income.  3. A lot of us have financial difficulties because instead of saving money and staying out of debt, we decide to buy the next greatest product. Furthermore, when you go into debt, you lose the money from the initial purchase and also the original price with interest. If your spending causes stress that impacts your health, the dollars continue to drain out on doctor visits, medication, and mental health counselors.Now that we spoke about debt, let’s discuss how spending more money than we have harms the environment… B. Harms the Environment  1. Excessive consumerism causes major ecological imbalances. 2. I don’t really consider myself an environmentalist. But truthfully, we are consuming more of the precious and finite resources than the earth can replenish. According to a report by Christian Aid, “20% of the world’s population account for around 80% of consumption of global resources, and the world is consuming 50% more than is environmentally sustainable.” Additionally, according to greentumble.com, “… because the demand for goods increases, the need to produce these goods also increases. This leads to more pollutant emissions, increased land-use and deforestation, and accelerated climate change”.  3. Approximately over half of the plastic produced every year is one-time use Because of our excess of disposable cameras, plastic garbage bags, and other cheaply made goods and our “throw-away mentality, there is a devastating toll on the Earth’s water supplies, natural resources, and ecosystems. According to a study entitled “Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption” published in the Journal in Industrial Ecology, what people consume is responsible for up to 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Now that we spoke about the environment, let’s discuss how our bad spending habits causes stress and less contentment. C. Causes Stress/Less Contentment 1. Excessive consumerism causes stress and less contentment. 2. Financial instability and spendthrift habits causes major stress, presented in the soaring statistics for divorce, suicide, and healthcare costs. Additionally, financial debt causes stress because of the pressure to provide for our growing wants and forces us to work jobs that we do not like.According to the article “The Crisis of American Consumerism”, several studies have shown that, across many nations with annual incomes above $20,000, there is no correlation between increased income and increased happiness. Studies also indicate that many members of capitalist societies feel unsatisfied because others make and spend even more. 3. According to neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, as Westerners, we’re experiencing the highest standard of living in history, and yet, it’s not enough. However much we have, we always want more. We are never satisfied. Trying to buy happiness gives us short-term gratification. According to Lifehack.org, “The pressure to perform at work to pay for an excessive lifestyle can translate to multiple ailments from too much stress, not enough sleep, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise. People also cope with the stress by excessive drinking, smoking, and other risky behaviors. These lifestyle choices are all indirectly caused by the pressure to make more money to fill the insatiable need to spend more and pay off debt from previous purchases”. Besides causing trouble in a couple’s relationship, money issues also adversely affect children. Parents that are overworked, often feel guilty for spending so much time at work and so little time with their children and spoil their kids. Parents spend longer hours at their jobs to pay for a lifestyle that they don’t even have time to enjoy. Now that we spoke about stress and discontent, let’s discuss what we can do to improve the situation. III. STEP THREE: (1 minutes) A. By changing our consumerist behavior, we will decrease our debt, reduce the negative impact to the environment, and become happier and more satisfied. 1. Changing our consumerist behavior will decrease debt.  i.  When you spend less, automatically you save more. While you may not look as fancy on the outside, you have an increases net worth. With the money you save, you can invest more into longer-term areas like retirement accounts, investment trading, or real estate endeavors. According to becomingminimalist.com, “As you accumulate fewer things, you spend less money. Additionally, it costs much less to store them, maintain them, repair them, clean them, and even discard them”. 2. Changing our consumerist behavior reduces our impact on the environment.                                          i. By needing less resources on the front end for production and reducing the amount of waste on the back end we will reduce the damage to the environment. Additionally, buy buying less you waste less, too and you’ll end up with significantly less trash. 3. Changing our consumerist behavior will cause us to be happier and more content. i. When we change our consumerist behavior, we have a lot of more free time – making space for the things in our lives that mean something. According to the article “Interpersonal Relationships and Irrationality as Predictors of Life Satisfaction”, when humans spend more time on strengthening social bonds, we tend to be happier than if we’d spent that time acquiring stuff. Additionally, when you don’t waste money on unnecessary things and you can use it for more experiences. In a survey done by Van Boven & Gilovich (2003), respondents from various demographic groups indicated that experiential purchases—purchases made with the primary intention of acquiring a life experience—made them happier than material purchases.  B. So I’m sure many of you are often scared off by the term ‘minimalist’ and don’t think you can change your consumerist behavior because you don’t want tp give up a comfortable lifestyle. i. To change consumerist behavior, you don’t need to sell everything you own. The message of minimalism is more about adjusting your mindset. We can live comfortably and be mindful, it’s not an either/or. Now that we discussed how to change our consumerist behavior, let’s visualize a life like that. III. STEP FOUR: Visualize Results- 1 minute A. Imagine living a healthier life. Imagine a life with less clutter, less stuff, fewer distractions. Imagine your life with less stress, debt, and discontent. Imagine your life with more time and more money. Imagine better, more interesting relationships. Imagine a clear blue sky without a blanket of pollution over it. Imagine the sky at night filled with countless shining stars. Imagine clean oceans with healthy sea creatures. Imagine still having problems, but better problems, problems that fuel your growth and excitement, problems you want to face. Imagine making your priorities real. Imagine feeling lighter, freer, happier. What you’re imagining is a meaningful life.  Now that we imagined how great life would be if we changed our consumerist lifestyle, let’s talk about concrete things we can do. CONCLUSIONIV. STEP FIVE: Identify Specific Actions- 30 seconds  A. By changing our consumerist behavior, we will have less, debt, reduce the negative impact we have on the environment, and will be happier individuals. B. 1. Overall, we need to change our attitude towards possessions and differentiate between wants and needs. However, this does not happen overnight. A small step in changing our consumer behavior is to turn off the ads (or at least mute them) on your computer. Consciously resist the power of ads and think what they are saying to us and whether or not we really need it. This is one way of combating the persuasive power of ads. It’s very simple to do.

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