A $14,000 Purse? Are You Kidding?!?
A few weeks ago on “Housewives of New York” on the Bravo TV network, one of the “housewives” held up a purse her husband apparently bought her as a birthday gift. It still had the price tag on it. $14,000.!!
$14,000 for a purse?!? As if we’re supposed to aspire to that. As if we’re supposed to feel “not good enough” if we can’t afford that extravagance.
Geez, for $14,000 a lot of people could have an amazing excellent adventure and tramp halfway around the world. Or, pay to go back to school. Or, a lot of things.
I was reading the New York Times and discovered an article with the headline, “But Will it Make You Happy?”
The article started with a story of an uber-frugal, young couple who scaled back on everything and paid off $30,000 in debt (some college loans) in three years. Times writer Stephanie Rosenbloom writes, “Now the couple have money to travel and contribute to the education funds of nieces and nephews. Because their debt is paid off, Ms. Strobel works fewer hours, giving her time to be outdoors, and volunteer, which she does about four hours a week for a nonprofit outreach program.”
If you have the money to keep shopping AND enjoy an excellent adventure more power to you. For most of us, trade-offs must be made. Those trade-offs are at the core of lifestyle design.
Rosenbloom writes, “Conspicuous consumption has been an object of fascination going back at least as far as 1899, when Thorstein Veblen published ‘The Theory of the Leisure Class,’ a book that analyzed, how people spent their money to demonstrate their social status.”
“One recent study discovered spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.”
“One reason paying for experiences gives us longer-lasting happiness because we reminisce, researchers say. That’s true for even the most middling experiences. That trip to Rome during which you waited in endless lines, broke your camera and argued with your spouse will be airbrushed with ‘rosy recollection,’ says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside.”
“Before credit cards enabled consumers to have almost anything they wanted any time, shopping was richer, says Ms. Liebmann of WSL Strategic Retail. ‘You saved for it, you anticipated it,’ she says.”
“Buying luxury goods becomes an endless cycle of one-upmanship. The neighbors have a fancy new car – now you want one, too. A study published in June in Psychological Science found wealth interferes with people’s ability to savor positive emotions and experiences.”
My rule: never fall in love with something or someone that doesn’t have the ability or the inclination to love you back.
So, next time you’re compelled to plunk down a credit card for the hottest Gadget Dujour or must-have sky high heels, stop. Ask yourself a few questions:
• What will you use it for?
• Is the latest model honestly THAT much better?
• Or, is it about scoring “cool points.”
• Are you willing to get rid of something old before buying something new?
• How long will it take to pay off?
You’re smart enough to avoid craving $14,000 purses, right? However even gadgets that cost a few hundred dollars here and a few hundred dollars there – all add up. Consider how much faster you’ll experience your own excellent adventure if you spend on what really counts for you.