When it comes to making purchases none of us are perfectly rational beings. Let’s examine a few reasons why logic can break down and cause us to make poor choices with money. With some practice you’ll find saving your money to be an extremely simple task. Ask a professional sprinter if he has trouble with the forty yard dash and he’ll tell you “No way!” He runs it every day.
At the time of this writing Helium has nearly a hundred articles which offer many fine savings suggestions. There’s plenty of concrete advice to stop using vending machines and not abusing your credit cards. Of course when you return home having spent too much the chief question is why your impulses are driving you towards such bad decisions. This author has come up with the profiles of three particularly villainous psychological foes that may be responsible for your situation. Once you understand how they lead you astray they’ll be stopped in their tracks. You’ll be saving bundles in no time!
Believe it or not each time you look at the price of an item you want there’s a commotion going on inside your head. A pleasure center that Freud called the id exerts its powerful influence while you consider the purchase. Your ego attempts to calm the id down and help you make the right decisions with a sense of the future. The two battle it out in a perpetual tug of war but the primal urges almost always win if you let them.
Understand that if you are put in a situation where the adrenaline from seeing a new gadget will overtake you making the right choice will be made more difficult. When you get an urge to pleasure shop take a step back and reflect on your own psychology in the moment.
Are you feeling antsy, needy, or uncomfortable because you don’t have the new item yet? These are not thought patterns conducive to making your best decisions. In fact if someone approached you in this manner I doubt that you’d pay them any mind. At this point make a contract with yourself that when the rush passes you will sit down and think about the real value of the item.
There is another powerful sensation pushing you to conform to society’s expectations. This impulse comes in a good variety and a bad variety. Positive pressure makes us get up at five o’clock to run three miles. It’s important to be healthy so that you can have a long life for your loved ones. Having children and a partner quietly pushes you to be a better person without them asking for it.
When you want to sleep because it’s cold outside an urge makes you put on your track suit and go. A source of pressure that can sometimes be turned against us is the need to attain respect. When it doesn’t come to us naturally based on our hard work or kindness to others then the need to be liked can sometimes be too strong.
Bad financial decisions can result from purchasing items because of how they’ll improve your social standing. I have a friend who has incurred massive debt while financing expensive furniture. He makes very little money but he has expensive art in his home.
This would be fine if these were his decisions but his partner, defining her sense of self from the things she has, would not put up with anything less. While these two are married and different rules apply the example still serves. Do not be wedded to someone else’s expectations especially when they are driving you towards bad savings habits.
Another dangerous fiend is at work in your psyche as well and we’ll call it the “newness bias”; it is the idea that a new purchase will dramatically improve your life in ways that nothing else has. When we examine this belief it is clear that the happiness you get from a new item diminishes over time. When you drove your last new car off of the lot there was nobody on the road who felt as cool as you.
Now picture the feeling that car gave you after a month. You still loved it but having already listened to the new speakers, used your heated seats, and marveled at how it handled it dawned on you that it was just a car. That natural progression as the new becomes the old hat is normal. Once you are aware of the true, non-inflated amount of happiness a particular good can buy you you’ll be better able to judge whether it’s worth the price.