I needed another piece of jewelry like I need a hole in my head, but resistance was futile. I don’t often succumb to impulse purchases, but I simply HAD to have it. It is costume jewelry and it was on sale, so it wasn’t an expensive purchase, but the guilt racked me for days. Why? I didn’t need it, I wanted it. It seemed very Veruka Salt of me at a time when I’m encouraging people to scale back in order to save money for their future needs.
But, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” – Marie Lloyd
I think the wisdom in that quote is the portion that says “a little”. If we purchase everything that catches our eye, we’d be in debt up to our eyeballs and subsequently stressed and very unhappy. Jewelry is lovely but it doesn’t comfort us, we can love it but it can’t love us back.
Purchases do give us a sense of pleasure and abundance (except if that purchase is something like a hot water heater, then, not so much), so it’s no wonder that people become shopaholics. Shopping (also called “retail therapy”) does give a rush of good feelings but those feelings are very temporary. So, our spirits will eventually fall, because stuff can’t love us. Stuff may give us pleasure, but pleasure is not love. And tackling debt is no fun.
I had a client who felt so consumed with saving for retirement that she felt she couldn’t purchase something she would like for her home. It wasn’t a small purchase, but she could afford it. It was difficult for her to allow herself to buy the item. She needed my permission- my blessing- as her advisor before she could make the purchase.
Some people are natural savings, some natural spenders, but most of us fall somewhere in between. We may enjoy getting a great bargain or seeing our emergency fund hit a certain level, and also enjoy the occasional flight of fancy.
I think it’s about balance.