I read something over at Zenhabits this morning. It may seem a bit philosophically bent at first, but there is some good, practical advice you can get from this. Like, do you really need to buy gym clothes and join a gym to get fit?
We are not consumers. We are people.
We are not living lives meant to earn money in order to support a shopping habit, or a large home and two cars, or lives of luxury eating and entertainment.
We are not living to support the corporations. And yet, if you were to take an objective, outsider look at our society, it would seem that we are.
We spend our childhoods — precious years that are far too fleeting — in schools geared to give us the best chance at getting a job. We then graduate and are highly pressured to go to college (getting into large debt in the process) so we can have the best chance at getting a good paying job. Then we claw at each other for the coveted but limited good paying jobs, and the winners are rewarded with big homes and SUVs and nice clothes (and lots of debt to go with all that). The losers are stuck in menial jobs they hate, envious of others they see on TV with luxury lives, eating cheap fast food and consigned to shopping at bargain outlets.
A skim will help, but I recommend reading the whole thing from start to end. Go forth.