First things first, why is this important? Although buying less definitely saves money, which attributes to today's topic "cheap", it is much more. I would mainly like to address the personal, therefore, cultural implications. Let's start with a question; do you think your happiness depends on buying things? Probably not? Do you think you would be able to not buy anything for a year, besides the absolute essentials; food, shelter and perhaps things like toothpaste?
Not buying anything anymore is a bit extreme; not all things bought are bad or unnecessary after all. Alain de Botton makes an interesting point by saying that material things are transubstantiations of things we believe in, in other words, symbols of what we are trying to become, think to be or believe in.1 This implies that much time and money is devoted to religion in some cultures. In other cultures, this is spent on clothing, for example. By wearing certain kinds of clothing, we change the way we see ourselves, how we think other people see us, and how other people see us.
Therefore, all the things we possess or do not possess are attributing to our identity. This implies that the things we own can be of great value for understanding ourselves and reminding us of things we find important. For example, the plant that you bought for your living room becomes a symbol of your love for the world around you.
Trouble arises when your identity becomes too interwoven with your possessions, and buying becomes a distraction from who you are as a person. Being materialistic isn't good or bad per se, but whether something contributes to who you are should be part of your decision making. Not restricting yourself in that way can definitely lead to unhappiness. So, what are you planning to buy at this moment? Will you get closer to yourself by buying it? If it does, is it also possible to buy it second-hand, reducing costs and waste? If not, doesn't it feel like a victory?
We all know the forces of the marketing machine are strong… A machine made by people who try to get rich by tempting other people to buy stuff, only to buy things for themselves that will probably not make them happier. It's quite ironic. At some point, I made a list called "things that I want to buy as an impulsive person". I wrote down everything that I thought I really needed. The result was a wish list of products that I would seldom buy in the end. It helped me greatly to stop buying things. Please, feel free to try it out as well.