Be wise with money: become less materialistic

If you want to make your own choices freely in the future, you should not put your head in the debt noose. How do you become less materialistic?


This article is intended to be informative. Of course, you remain responsible for (financial) choices in your life. The NIBUD site ( is a good starting point for questions about money. Take timely action if problems arise and seek advice from reliable and qualified advisors.

Bad decisions

Unfortunately, most people only start thinking when they are confronted with the facts. Graduates who have borrowed unnecessarily and built up high student debt are less likely to be satisfied with their lives and have more problems with their mental health.

Debt and health

Large debts can lead to poor health. People who have a lot of debt sleep worse, feel more anxious and have more physical complaints. In addition, if you are deeply in the red, you are more likely to commit suicide. People who have debts also suffer from depression more often.

Most important tip: don’t watch TV

A good trick to help yourself and your children become less materialistic is to watch less TV. When we watch TV, the message is constantly conveyed that people who own many things are happy. The younger the children, the more sensitive they are to the message that advertising sends. And children have proven to have a major influence on their children’s purchasing behavior. Spending money is equated with success. Research has shown that the more you watch television, the more materialistic you become. Your perception of reality is one-sidedly distorted. You would almost think that an expensive car and a large villa are absolutely necessary to be happy in life. This is in contrast to what is really important: good health and a close relationship with your family and friends.

Clever advertising avoidance tricks

You could still let your children watch educational films by putting on a DVD. Then you at least have control over the fact that advertising does not appear all the time. With older children you could play a game to guess the message of the advertisement. However, it is best not to pay too much attention to the advertisements. The research mentioned states that the more consciously you look at the advertisement, the more you are influenced by it.

Financial education

Too bad, but unfortunately we learn many useful things in primary and secondary school, but apparently not enough about how to avoid debt. Don’t think that finances necessarily have to be about complicated calculations and the question of whether you should invest. You have to figure out for yourself what you want in life. A nice house is welcome, as long as you are aware that the housing costs of most people consume approximately forty percent of their income. If you buy a house with a top mortgage, nothing can go wrong. If, as before, you could borrow on two salaries, you have no room for maneuver at all. If one of the partners becomes ill or is fired, you quickly find yourself in an unpleasant position.

Consuming as the highest goal? See the world differently

People who act “normal” don’t appear on television very often. Contrary to what you might think, consuming is not the highest goal. It is important that you have a goal to achieve frugally. Being frugal does not have to be an end in itself. You might want to work one day less per week. This is to create some more peace in your life. Of course, you don’t have to be as extreme as Kath Kelly in “Living on $1 a day.” What’s interesting is that she will be doing different types of volunteer work during the weekend. That costs less than standard outings and she meets interesting people there.