Getting rid of materialism

I wouldn’t say that I’m completely rid of materialism. In fact, close friends of mine know that I’ve been having this watch craze lately, and am currently eyeing an IWC Portofino watch which cost a whooping $7,200.


Gorgeous isn’t it? However, unlike before, I have a better sense of self control and I find myself having no reasons to get it. I will get this watch as a form of reward when a) I completed my ACCA, or b) I have a saving in excess of 100k, whichever comes earlier. Either way, there is still a year or more to go before I accomplish my goals. And who knows? Maybe by the time I accomplished them in a year or two, I may not want to spend so much money on a discretionary want after all.

Over the past year, I’ve come to a conclusion that there’s no end to materialism, it’s like trying to fill a bottomless pit. Many think that buying and owning things equates to happiness. In fact, it’s the total opposite. Think about it, when it’s the time one would usually shop and spend the most? It’s usually when one is unhappy and turn to retail therapy to make themselves feel better. Situations like stress from work, break ups, family problems and unfulfilling personal lives tend to make us shop more. Shopping gives a false sense of happiness, and a false sense of importance. It acts as a distraction from things we are truly unhappy about. When we buy things, we get attention and assurance from shop assistants and we feel a sense of importance. After the purchase is made, friends or colleagues usually notice it especially if it’s a big ticket item and we get attention from it for awhile. This again add on to us feeling important from our purchase. However, the root of our problem was never removed nor even paid the slightest attention to.

I had a bit of time by myself today, so I started asking myself why the sudden interest in watches. Why this strong urge to “reward” myself despite not having real reasons to do so? Is it because I’ve hit an income level of 100k per annum? Or because I’ve climb out of debt and am saving over 40% of my salary? Truth to be told, I wanted to get a watch to mask my discontentment at work, and out of boredom. I’m bored with my boring albeit well paid job. I don’t feel challenged and I’m not growing much career wise. Why not change job? Firstly, I’m not a quitter, secondly, this job offers me two important things. Time and money. Time to complete my studies, and money to build up my savings at a faster rate.

Therefore, I tell myself to focus on experiences, relationships, my goals, and on fixing my problems. Don’t focus on things such as that beautiful IWC watch. When we focus on being a better person, on improving relationships with people in our lives, we will then be fulfilled and material things naturally wouldn’t matter as much anymore. Having said that, I may still get that watch as a reward only when I truly deserve it, when I reached my personal milestones. We’ll see!


3 thoughts on “Getting rid of materialism

  1. Although I can’t imagine ever seriously considering buying a $7k accessory, I appreciate your sharing.

    I’m curious on whether your friends would look down on you if you bought something cheaper, or if they’re just complimenting you because they thought what you were wearing looked good regardless of how much it cost.

    I agree with rewarding yourself every once in a while. I set aside money each month so I can go on a shopping spree at the end of each semester. Then again, my shopping sprees are normally on – where the dresses I buy are between $10-$20 and the jewelry is about $2 each. (Ok, there are more expensive things on aliexpress, but if I wanted to buy more expensive things I would go to a department store… example: )

  2. Hi Jasmine,

    If you delay gratification, you’ll realize the reward is much sweeter when you eventually obtain it, because it was bought using hard work and blood, sweat and tears!

    And oh yes, I’ve had cases where I deferred a purchase and by the time I saved up enough to afford it, I realized that I didn’t really want to buy it after all!

    I can tell you right now that if you don’t have job satisfaction, eventually you will find yourself dragging yourself to work with almost no enthusiasm, no matter how good the money or time. I think it’s important to at least find a job which challenges your mind and offers you training in different skill sets (e.g. managing a team or job rotation); continuous learning is part and parcel of being human and is what motivates us and keeps us feeling “alive”. I should know this as I worked in several jobs where I simply could not stomach the work I was doing, and it was a very dreary existence. My mind would be wandering off to where my real passion lay – thinking about and analyzing companies! Therefore, I would still encourage you to pursue your passion or at least find a job which challenges you and makes you feel alive.

    Good luck and Regards.

    • Hi Musicwhiz,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to receive kind words from a friend. 🙂

      Yeah, I’m trying to delay the gratification of getting such an expensive watch. And who knows, maybe by the time I achieved my goals, I may not want the watch anymore.

      Something happened lately and I’ve been thinking maybe I’m whining too much. Perhaps my job isn’t all that bad. Doing some self reflection now and trying not to complain too much about my job. I’m quite blessed after all! 🙂


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