Why do we spend so much money?

This is a question that I hear and read about a lot. The answer is simple and complex at the same time. It is not as simple as "we want to" or "I have it so I spend it". Most people do not even realize it which is a big part of the problem.

Spending too much money comes down to 2 major problems: marketing and ignorance.

Marketing is certainly responsible for at least 50% if not more of your spending. You bought a new iPad. You bought a new car. You bought a new shirt. I could go on forever. All of that is the result of subjecting yourself to marketing. TV is a huge player in this--and also why I don't own one. Marketing is very good at making spend money--even if you don't have it (debt).

Ignorance is another aspect to this problem. Most of the people I know, including most of those close to me, have no idea how they spend their money. They just know that it is gone before they get paid again. Overdraft fees come and they eat ramen for a week. They simply have no budget and do not care enough to monitor their bills/spending and end up broke. Again and again from cradle to grave.

Every time I hear some variation of this story I want to just shake my head. I personally blame it on them since they are the one carelessly spending their money and the fact that they can't even realize they are doing it because of the cable TV they watch. I find it baffling that people pay money to watch commercials. It is no different than walking up to a salesman at Best Buy and saying "Here is 5 dollars. Please tell me about the features of this laptop."

But this is America! Materialism has gone way overboard. We have 2 iPads while people starve elsewhere. We have an average of $18,000+ in household credit card debt on top of mortgages, car notes, and student loans. Marketing has told us that we need a 20 bedroom house with 5 SUV's, 4 dogs/cats, and every gadget that ever comes out. People continue to buy into it and here we are.