We live in a world filled with empty consumeristic promises.
- To get the girl, buy this cologne.
- To be the life of the party, get this television.
- To impress your friends, buy this watch.
- To turn heads, drive this car.
- To raise a better family, buy this bigger house.
These promises bombard our senses incessantly—even within the comforts of our home. And more than we realize, these messages begin to shape our conscious and subconscious thoughts.
As a result, too often, we buy stuff we don’t need. Our closets become crowded, our drawers overfill, our garages can’t fit our cars, and our homes fill with countless products we thought were a good idea at the time; but in reality, rarely get used.
Our lives soon become buried under everything we own.
To counter these empty promises, I want to offer a simple, life-transforming question—five simple words to ask before making any purchase.
The question is this: But what if I don’t?
Whenever you feel the pull of consumerism, simply ask yourself the shortened version of this thought, “What might I be able to do if I didn’t make this purchase?”
Every purchase contains an opportunity cost. The question, “But what if I don’t?”, forces us to recognize and articulate it.
If you don’t buy that large screen television, how much debt could you pay off?
If you don’t buy the bigger house, how much more money would you have to travel?
If you don’t go clothes-shopping today, how could you build up an emergency fund?
If you don’t make this purchase on Amazon, what good could you accomplish in the world with the money instead?
You know what you’ve been promised if you buy… but what if you don’t? How would your life improve if you said ‘no?’
With every purchase we make, we sacrifice a small amount of freedom. This one, simple question helps us recognize exactly what it is.