The “Daily Purchase” is a cornerstone of consumerist psychology. It is so ingrained in modern American life that very few people even realize they have a “Daily Purchase”. It’s that one thing that you buy nearly every day but rarely ever need. Most purchases are less than $5, meaning they could be classified as an impulse buy were it not for the repetitive occurrence. Common examples include a cup of coffee, candy bar, a bag of chips, and soda. It should be no surprise that these items are frequently found in vending machines, an industry built around the Daily Purchase.
Analyzing the Daily Purchase we see that they are frequently unhealthy, and expensive compared to their actual amount (cup of coffee from a coffee shop vs homemade). Then why do so many people have this ritual ingrained into their lives? It’s that word, “ritual” it’s a daily process that makes us feel as though we have control in our lives and can establish a pattern. The consumer is using their buying power to create a routine. It’s a coping mechanism for the dreary post-modern life.
Like most coping mechanisms, this one is unhealthy. The first point is the cost. Assuming the average person spends $2 on their Daily Purchase each day, they end up spending $60 a month. $60 is quite a bit of cash to be throwing away. Wouldn’t you rather devote that $60 to saving for the future? Or maybe a special night out? The point is, when living a cash-strapped, minimum wage life there are far better uses for $60.
So how do you break the cycle?
It’s simple; sit down and realize you don’t need whatever your Daily Purchase is. You will go through withdrawal, as this is a psychological addiction, but with time you will no longer feel the desire to compulsively purchase that soda or candy bar. You’ll be healthier, save money, and not feel as tied to the system of consumption. The last one is the key part, you’re taking your first step towards minimalism at a psychological level. You’ve committed yourself to analyzing your life and possessions for a brief period of time and said “I don’t need this”, then acted upon it.
Congratulations, you’ve taken your first step into a better world.