Do you ever find yourself buying something, telling someone about your purchase, and before they say anything, you start explaining why you needed it?
I know I have.
And 99% of the time, it was something I didn’t need.
ME: ”Hey Babe, I went to the store and bought some ingredients to make dinner tonight”; HIM: ”Sounds great, I can’t wait to try it!”
No explanation needed. Obviously if you need something there is no justification required. My husband wouldn’t retort with ”Why did you buy ingredients we needed for a meal we need to eat”. We need it, so that’s why bought it.
ME: ”Hey Babe, I went to the store and bought some ingredients to make dinner tonight and I also bought a massive jar of Nutella, a five pound bag of apples and some nail polish…BUT before you say anything! I needed this stuff. I know I only went for the dinner ingredients but the Nutella was on sale, even though we have 6 apples in the fridge I’ll bake (something else we don’t need) with this bag and I haven’t bought new nail polish in f-o-r-e-v-e-r so really, I needed that too” HIM: ”eyeroll”.
I can’t even convince myself with scenario two as I type it out, yet I have done it a gazillion times. I go to the store with a list and convince myself that there are other items that I needed.
If you really have to justify a purchase to yourself or someone else, you probably don’t need it and your money will be better spent (or saved) somewhere else.
There is a difference between thinking about a purchase and justifying it. You need to make the distinction. Take my recent laptop purchase as an example. Initially I didn’t need a new laptop. I spent weeks convincing myself a million reasons why I did though. In the end my head won and for two years I didn’t buy one. When she finally did stop working I no longer had to justify it, rather think the decision though and decide how much I would spend and where I would buy it from. Two years ago I would have had to justify to my husband why I needed it. After it stopped working, and needed to be replaced, no justification was needed.
I have so much honest regret about crap I’ve wasted money on in the past and 100% of the time I had to justify the purchase to myself or someone else. Though I have come a long way, the struggle between wants and needs is a real thing.
When making a purchase on a want (the new shoes, the video game, the nail polish, the gym membership…) think about how much justification it’s going to take and then decide if it is worth it.
Life is too short to not be enjoyed. I’m not suggesting you don’t enjoy your money. What I am suggesting is that you value your money and make sure it is appropriated in the best manner. If something makes you genuinely happy, that is justification enough but if three days later you’re convincing yourself you still need ”it”, return it and rid your conscious of guilt.