I have always found it fascinating how humans, myself included, will rationalize our actions to truly get what we want, regardless of if it actually makes sense.
“It’s the start of the school year, I need this.”
“I’m going off to college, I need that!”
“I just got a promotion, I’m getting it!”
“With the year I’ve had, I could use this!”
“It’s my birthday, so I am getting it.”
Trust me, I do it too. I have just come to be highly aware of when I try to rationalize a purchase. I find it slightly saddening that wholesome, highly pleasant occasions like a birthday, or someone going off to college, or a life milestone can no longer just be. This occasion has to be marked with a purchase.
Listen, I am all for a good haul if and when the money you are spending is a tiny part of your financial picture. But do achievements no longer matter? Do they not bring enough joy with them, that the void has to be filled, or any excitement has to be amplified with the rush of dopamine from shopping?
I recently have hit and am very close to hitting multiple goals I set for myself for this calendar year, and as one said goal is approaching, I pondered over what I should do to celebrate. Oh, I could try that Japanese place with my family. Although, I love a steak dinner. Oh, maybe we’ll do something extra special on our upcoming vacation.
After going through things I could potentially do or buy to mark this momentous occasion, I thought, wait. I have worked my entire life for this moment. The best reward is in the very virtue of me reaching this goal. That moment in the middle of my calm routine when I remember that I hit my goal is more than enough for me.
Again, I am not telling you to not purchase something if you can pay cash for it. Next time you try to mark an occasion, good or bad, with a purchase, think about why you are connecting that moment with an item. And think about what contentment could do for your shopping habits and for your life.