Why do we expect material things to bring us lasting happiness? You’d think by the time we reached adulthood, we’d know that shiny, new toys only bring fleeting bouts of superficial joy. Instead of acknowledging this fact, we consume ever more ferociously with our bigger incomes and even bigger expectations.
Well, I’m here to tell it. In case you somehow missed it, your stuff has very little to do with your overall satisfaction with life. Better yet, most of your stuff is taking you in the opposite direction. You won’t be able to achieve your long-term goals if you’re spending all your money on meaningless trinkets.
But marketers are very crafty when it comes to convincing us that stuff will make our peers jealous, our hair shinier, our teeth whiter, our lives better. Oh, they’re good now.
You may think you’re immune to the advances of a seductive marketing campaign. You are not. You’re a sheep just like the rest of us.
Don’t think so? Well, how’d you end up with so much stuff?
I gather there are three primary categories of stuff that we buy.
Category 1: You’re 120% positive it’ll solve the greatest, most insurmountable problem in your life. You’re convinced you’ll use it so much that you might as well buy two, so that your continual use of the product isn’t prematurely interrupted. You get it home, and then….you casually toss it in the closet with the other Category 1 products you’ve never used. And I’m sorry to break it to ya, you never will.
Common examples – Bread machines, books, almost any “As Seen on TV” product
Category 2: This one, you actually use. You use it all the time. Sing its praises to anyone with a listening ear. Heck, it’s changed your life – for a few weeks. And then, you casually toss it in the closet with the other Category 2 products that have met the same unfortunate end.
Common examples – Juicers, video games, and gym memberships
Crack: You use this one so much you’re miserable without it. You fight off imminent panic attacks when you misplace it. If it were ever lost or destroyed, you’d do two things 1) Cry and 2) Immediately replace it with whatever or whoever’s money you could get your hands on. It’s just that important.
Common examples – Smartphones, laptops, iPods and the like.
We all have categories 1, 2 & crack products in our possession. But I know which categories you have the most of. You can’t fool me.
I will forever maintain that the easiest way to save money is to stop spending it. However, I realize that’s not always realistic. When you must spend money, make sure you spend it on crack*.
*Disclaimer: I do not support the use of non-prescription drugs. I simply want to emphasize how important it is to buy only those things that you derive extreme satisfaction from. That are, um, not addictive in nature. It was just really hard to think of a legal and healthy substance that effectively illustrated my point.