Here are two things you can do.
First, rather than focusing your desires on things, focus them on experiences. Research demonstrates that when you spend money to create memories, you are happier than when you spend money to buy things. So, rather than getting that expensive bracelet, buy a musical instrument. Instead of one more new dress, treat yourself to a half day at a nice spa. Keep your car an extra year and go on a wonderful vacation instead. In the long run, your memories of those events will outlast the objects, and they’ll make you happier.
Second, get in the habit of doing things for others. We live in a consumer culture, and there is a lot of pressure to spend money and to keep up with the latest trends. But, a day spent at a soup kitchen, an afternoon with an autistic grade schooler or a morning cleaning up the local park will give you more of a boost than almost anything you can spend your money on. In the end, feeling a closer connection to your community gives a huge boost to your self-esteem.
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