Sunday, June 01, 2008

Holding onto the rush

The Simple Dollar had an article today entitled The Total Experience of a Purchase.

He talks about rushing out a few years ago to buy an iPod Nano, charged on a card he couldn't pay off, and how after an initial "buyer's rush" it then didn't get used as much and overall it not only cost him an extra $50 in interest charges but ended up having a lot of negative baggage associated with it. Paid $200, didn't use it, couldn't pay it off, paying interest paying interest paying interest still not using it, FEH!

He then talks about avoiding that "overall negative experience" feeling by thinking purchases through and making sure he both really wants the thing AND can afford it before he buys.

I've got something to add.

The "buyer's rush" is a well-documented experience. You go out, you buy something, you feel gooooooood. You feel important, and pampered, and all that. Like most rushes, it fades over time - sometimes it's gone before you even get out to the car.

And if you're buying crap you don't need with money you don't have, the feeling turns ugly in a hurry. And then a lot of people turn right around and buy more, and so on and so on and so on.

What Trent doesn't mention in his article is the way a buyer's rush can last, under the right conditions. Instant gratification often has instant fade on the rush - but having to wait, and work, and anticipate the getting of the Cool Whatnot adds to the enjoyment of it.

You've already given yourself an emotional boost by not going into money-worries for it, a fiscal boost by not adding to your debt load to own it, and then you give yourself a lasting glow by knowing, every single time you look at it, every time you use it, that you really wanted it, and then earned it, and you need make no apologies for having it.

I still get a rush from Homer the Odyssey. And my iPod Classic. Every bottle of wine in my rack, every pair of shoes in my closet, the yarn on my shelves, the chairs in our front room. Each one still gives me a stab of pleasure when I think of them.

I live a very rich life, without the rich life credit card balances.

It's a good thing.


Siercia said...

You are absolutely 100% right.

The things I wait to buy until I'm really sure I want them (generally for me, if I've consistently come back to wanting something for 4-6 months, I know I want it) give me a consistent happiness to having them and using them, even when they are things that I don't necessarily use every day. It's almost more of a owner's rush at that point.

Curlysam said...

There's nothing sadder than regretting a yarn purchase. Then there's a bad taste in the air when its being knit and that follows the finished project around. But then at least its all lovely knitting and I haven't ever bankrupted myself for laceweight, so everything's good so far.

Lori said...

I remember a few years ago when I found this ring I HAD to have. Hubby wouldn't get it for me, so I saved up and bought it myself! Every time I looked at it, I felt so proud that I earned and saved the money to buy that beauty. Then, a few months later, we had a party at our home and someone stole it. I was crushed. We narrowed it down to who it probably was, and the person that brought the alleged thief offered to buy me a new ring, but I refused. It just wouldn't have been the same.

Anonymous said...

There is something even better - and that's getting the thing you want for 'free'.

I have a perfectly good food processor, I use it every day and it is doing a good job except that it is too small now. I can chop an onion but anything much larger means several batches or it getting jammed.

I REALLY want a big Kenwood one. I know what model I want and it is expensive. But I'm saving up for it and it isn't going to cost me a cent. I'm going to buy it on my credit card bonus point scheme. We pay off our card in full every month, we use it to organize our accounts, we have no debt as I don't buy it if I haven't got the cash in the bank to cover it. And the points build up.

At the current rate of expenditure it will take another 6 months. And I am SO enjoying watching the points accumulate. By paying my bills with the card on a direct payment scheme (which earns me a prompt payment and online banking discount) I get points to buy luxuries.

We also get a case of wine on the points every Christmas. Or sometimes an overnight hotel stay for a mini-break without the kids.

I know it isn't the same as saving up your pennies but it is another way to stretch the budget for some of the 'wants' rather than 'needs'.