Friday, November 7, 2014

Do You REALLY Need to buy it...?

The "shopping therapy" practiced by so many Americans can really cause a problem with finances.

There's a fairly good article in Psychology Today which details many reasons.

I think one of the biggest reasons is people want to keep up with, or impress, their friends and relatives.

A guy I use to work with bought a ring for his wife when we were out at the mall for lunch one day.  It wasn't really expensive, but not some junk either.  He bought it at a jewelry store.   I asked him what was the occasion and he said "we are going to see my brother's, and my wife likes to have some new jewelry to show off to her sister-in-laws".   Apparently a couple of the brothers had done extremely well, and there must be quite a bit of competition among  the sister-in-laws.  

So I am assuming that insecurity is one of the main reasons we feel compelled to buy things to impress other people.   I don't know how one "learns" to be secure in your own skin.  Maybe a bit of therapy, or just reading Psychology Today.   When I discussed my problem with procrastination with a therapist, he told me to read an article in Psychology Today which addressed the problem, and it was great advice (and not
so expensive).    I learned why I procrastinate, but learning to change the behavior is not so easy.  I am sure
the same will be true of learning NOT to buy.  

Maybe one of the best tools for learning to not buy things is to know what you need or want to buy.  Even before you go to the thrift store.   I did this last week, and walked out empty handed.  I was a bit disappointed, because surely there was SOMETHING I needed (or wanted).  But I kept reminded myself of all that "stuff" I already have, and need to get rid of, and make the wise decision to not drag more stuff home.

So, make a plan of what you want to buy.  Then, set it aside for a few days, or a week, to review and see if you still think you need or want that item.   I guess that would be the "cooling off period".  Works for lots of things.

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