I know I know…ain’t isn’t a word but it’s a catchy title. You see an ad or an item on sale, and you tell yourself “That’s something I could use.” Even though you already have something equivalent, you might be thinking wouldn’t it be nice to have the latest and greatest, the newer model. My family and I were driving in the car and my wife asked me if we needed a new strainer because she saw one on sale. I told her we have two of them and we don’t need another one. This triggered a story that my wife told me and the kids that one of the strainers we have is over 20 years old. Then she says that the laundry basket is also over 20 years old. And she adds that the radio that she has at work is over 20 years old. The lesson we just taught our kids in the car is that if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to replace it.
I want to clarify that this doesn’t apply to everything. There will be times where you just need to replace an old item that doesn’t provide the benefits as a newer item would. If you’re looking to replace your car because of the gas mileage, constant repairs, or you feel it’s coming to end of life, then you have a very good reason. I’ve been contemplating about getting a new laptop because the one I currently have is very slow when it comes to video editing. It’s choppy and it’s slow. Does it still work? Yes. Can I do everything else on it? Yes. But that one thing is making me contemplate back and forth whether to buy a new one or not.
I wondered why we often see ourselves buying the newer things when what we have is perfectly fine. I came across this article where it explains how the brain gets naturally stimulated when we reward ourselves.
You’ve probably heard about dopamine before, and its effects on the brain. It’s often touted as a “reward chemical” or part of the brain’s “reward center,” but more recent research has shown that, like novelty, it’s actually more closely related to our motivation to seek rewards rather than being a reward itself.
Each time I want to replace something I have, I catch myself making the justification for it…convincing myself that it’s worth it and how beneficial it will be for me. It’s like the angel and the devil on each side of your shoulder. The angel is telling me what I should be doing and the devil is telling me why shouldn’t I do it. I do like that rewarding feeling of opening up boxes and deliveries I receive. It’s nice getting packages. It’s nice to spend on yourself! I get it! It’s a very rewarding feeling to buy things.
We live in an age where things are just readily available whether it’s information, same day delivery, instant money transfers, real-time messaging, and more. This doesn’t help the angel either. The devil is saying why not? You get it fast. Order from the comfort of your home. Someone else delivers it to you. Plus, you can return it if you don’t like it. C’mon, how many times have we bought something and told ourselves it’s such a hassle to return that I’ll just keep it. I can use it.
Everyday purchases add up especially those that you really don’t need. I’ve fallen for the trap many times. It does feel good getting the latest and greatest, or even just an upgrade. And it’s not big ticket items. It could be as small as a strainer, a laundry basket, or even your phone cover. Which side do you fall towards? The angel or the devil? When it comes to reaching financial independence, I think you know which side you need to be on. If it ain’t broke, do you need it? Many times, we end up on the other side. Be aware of your spending and keep asking yourself, is it broke? If you are interested in following my journey, email subscribe to get alerts of latest posts or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
To see all my previous articles, go to my Archive page.