The Rationalization Of Spending

In a consumer-based economy, it’s difficult for people to approach the idea of spending and why we do it when asked. If you stop someone and ask them why they are buying something, they’re likely to tell you that they need it. They probably don’t know why they need it, but they just know that they do. Every day, we spend, we rationalize the purchases we make, and our entire system is built around fostering and encouraging this lack of self-analysis. It’s only through looking inward that we can begin to understand why we spend the way we spend before we can even begin to get our spending habits under control.

The Coupon Mentality:

This is a common misjudgment that we convince ourselves of every day. Though if used properly, coupons can be an excellent money saving device, but it too often equates to being a penny wise and a pound-foolish. Saying to yourself, it’s ok that I spend twenty dollars at lunch because I’m not planning on going out for dinner. It can also mean buying something that you don’t really need only because you have an great coupon for it. Spending six to save one is not a good strategy. You are not striking a counterbalance. All you’re doing is rationalizing spending instead of using a little introspection to know why you’re spending.

I’ve Earned This:

This is a very common spending habit that we’re all guilty of, no matter how frugal we are. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new pair of jeans or a nice meal at a good restaurant, we convince ourselves that we have somehow earned the right to do this. This is systemic of a larger issue of entitlement that, as a consumer culture, we feel that we reward ourselves by spending on things that we don’t really need. We feel like we’re rewarding ourselves for working so hard. This seems totally understandable until it gets to the point where we’re not really asking if we “deserve” something and just buying it. This is an impulse that doesn’t use much thought. If we were to stop and ask ourselves why we feel we deserve something, we’d probably be a lot less likely to buy it. It’s not about spending and more about instant gratification. If we really thought we deserved it, then we’d be getting free insurance quotes in order to save money on costly healthcare. We deserve saving money, but it’s not as immediate or attractive.

I’ll Make Up For It Later:

Saying that you’ll make up for it later on another purchase is one of the most costly lies that we tell ourselves. We’ll go out and spend a hundred dollars on clothes one week and say that we’ll make up for it next week by not going out to eat. This would work if we followed through with it but, unfortunately, we have very short memories and attention spans. As soon as the purchase is made, the thought is gone. Instead, spend your money once you’ve earned it.

Work towards self-analysis when it comes to your spending. Living on credit purchases is an unnatural way to live. Saying that you’ll make up for it later or that you’ve somehow earned it is a gut-reaction that is based nowhere in logic. The power of rationalization is strong, but the will to stop yourself and hold back can be even stronger. It just takes a little effort and the results will prove substantial for your savings.

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