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Materialism Essay

1810 words - 8 pages

Everyone has strolled past an open window, seen something intriguing in their side view, and drooled over the thought of having it for themselves. How about walking through the aisles and calculating how much money you would have after buying a few not-so-necessary items in order to pay off the bills next week. We Americans love buying things; that is just our nature. When we look behind the scenes, is materialism really all that great for us, or is it evoking more harm than good? I analyzed this issue over a few weeks, pulling resources from not only websites, but examples in my own life. Several organizations and individuals had various amounts of thoughts to contribute towards this topic, ...view middle of the document...

There was not a strong stance on her view of financials within her book either, but she did offer some very important ideas. In an era of self-consumption, we believe “having lots of money” to be “very important” (Twenge 99). The more money we possess, the better off we will be, correct? Maybe yes, and maybe no, as it really depends upon the situation. Take a college freshman like myself, off on their own for the first time in eighteen years. The world is open to possibilities, opportunities, and for that matter, things to buy. No longer do mom and dad have to tell us what we can and cannot buy. For once, we have the power to chose what we want to wear, eat, use, and play with, and it’s such a rewarding and fulfilling thought...until you look at the bill afterwards. Many colleges offer refunds back to students that have extra money after paying for tuition and classes, but can refund privileges be abused? The University of Oregon stated that a total cost to attend their school is around “$24,000 for the 2013-2014 school year” with “less than 10,000 of that goes to tuition, leaving their students with refund checks of roughly $14,000 each year” (US News). That’s a lot of extra cash for an inexperienced budgeter! What are college students using all this money for exactly? Twenge points out that “college kids spend $2.6 billion a year on decorating their spaces, about $1200 each” (100). With so many chances to spend here and buy there, us young students don’t see the real problem of buying until after we graduate, when there are plenty of student loans to pay back.

Another example, but on the opposite side of the spectrum, could include a family, or to scale it down, just one adult. In this modern economy, nothing is ever cheap. Yes, gas prices may be going down now, but compared to what it used to be, it really has only been going up overtime. While we get paid less, prices and inflation have increased for just about everything we use. “Even essentials are astronomically expensive: housing, health care, day care and education cost” (120) says Twenge in her book. This makes it increasingly difficult to pay for everyday household costs, let alone splurge on extra expenditures. Is it okay to see something and possibly budget money to put aside for something you really want, even if that money is sparse? Absolutely! As mentioned in a personal financing class I took in high school, it’s perfectly okay to want to buy something new, and the thought of finally having it is what drives up to make sure everyday costs get addressed first. Now, this may not come as easily to some families who struggle more financially than others, but really any item that is outside of paying bills could count. When my parents both lost their jobs simultaneously, it made it wearisome to have any motivation at all. When my parents began mentioning possible little trips or rewards if there was enough money saved over the next several months, it made me as a fourteen year old...

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