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.