We’ve all done it. Made some sort of justifying statement when we are in a moment where we feel deep down inside that perhaps what we are about to do is not exactly the best use of money. Or maybe you’re a better person than me and you only know friends who do it. You will have encountered something like this at least once in the past. The behaviour here is trying to justify behaviour that you are not settled with and wrapping the justification in wisdom or at least something that seems like it. Of course, it’s your money and you can do what you want with it but if you have ever felt this way and want to do things differently let’s look at some of these sayings.
YOLO, which stands for You Only Live Once is probably the most popular justifying phrase that exists. On the surface it makes a lot of sense, you only have one lifetime, at least as far as we understand. So taking opportunities to do things that you want to do makes sense. However, there’s a limit to this. If taking this opportunity will jeopardise other things that matter to you it may not be the right thing to do. This is not to say we shouldn’t do the things we want to do but to say there should be a balance between taking care of needs and wants.
I can afford it
We should of course seek to buy things that we can afford. The problem here isn’t buying things we can afford but rather understanding what that means. In some cases, things that are bought because they are affordable tend to be vanity purchases with little utility. Affordability should not be the first reason on the list of reasons to buy something but rather the last. Also, there’s that saying that goes “just because you can pay for something doesn’t mean you can afford it”. This speaks to the same thinking as the previous point. Making the poayment for something doesn’t equal being able to afford it iof it is done at the expense of more importyant things.
I have nothing better to do with the money
You may not hear this one a lot but it is thrown out there a few times too many for my liking. People will justify making questionable purposes and expenditures by saying they could think of nothing better to do with the money. This shouldn’t be taken as a reason to go ahead with the expenditure but rather as a reason expand your horizons. The obstacle is the way and in this case, your lack of knowledge is a signal to work on your knowledge. You could invest the money, many great investment products are doing good things for people.
I’ll make more money
This one is perhaps the hardest one to fight because nobody knows what the future holds. It is more likely than not thought that more money will be made. The problem is when this statement is used to justify foregoing important things and choosing things that are not as important. Important things such as insurance, saving and emergency funds are so because we do not know when we will need them. It could be before more money is made. And that is where the penny drops. Smart money says to do the less important thing with the more money when it comes.
It’s on sale/discount
Finally we have one which you have surely heard if not said yourself. Getting something at a lower price than its usual ticket or list price is a great feeling. We celebrate discounts when we do get them. However retailers and vendors know exactly what they are doing when they offer something at a discount, it elicits feelings of urgency and excitement. I am not against buying things at discount. There’s a saying that goes, price is what we pay and value is what we get. This means that price is only a monetary measure attached to something while value is what the thing does for our lives. Value and price can be wildly divorced. In my youth there was a retail shop I loved to frequent which always advertised huge discounts which got bigger each week. The reality was the final price you paid remained the same. They were never discounts in reality. The lesson here is to learn to work out your value for things. Don’t take the list price as the value. If you take 1 hour to do laundry every week and value your time at $10 per hour that’s $10 a week you’re “spending” on laundry. If we assume a washing machine has a useful life of 1 year the value of a washing machine to you would be at least $520. The numbers aren’t perfect but I hope you get the idea, think in terms of value not price.