It’s easy to get caught up in impulse buying of items on Amazon or from social media ads, for example. But is this stuff truly benefitting our daily lives? Are these items bringing us joy and supplementing us on a deeper level?
I recently talked with a parent about their experience taking their child to the mall. The excitement the child felt for all the toy displays in the windows was overwhelming. This child was fascinated and immediately wanted to purchase everything around them. The parent immediately knew that all of these small items were garbage that wouldn’t actually be loved or enjoyed by their child beyond the initial purchase.
As a parent, it can be difficult to resist providing your begging child with all of their desires, but there is a lesson to be learned in these instances. This is a great opportunity to educate our children about the thought process that should go into each purchase they make. And it’s worth keeping in mind for you too. It’s how we stop buying stupid stuff we may regret later.
We should teach children to ponder the reason they want to buy things. Ask them: Is it your awesome stuff? Will this item bring you joy in the future? Or is there a chance you’ll get bored of it in a day or so and the item will be thrown into a pile and forgotten?
Let them make the decision. Try not to force your opinion on them. This can be hard, but understanding your Awesome Stuff is a personal decision and is not going to be the same for everyone. So instead of pushing your own personal opinion (and your own personal Awesome Stuff), teach them to reflect on how they feel right after buying, a day after buying, a month after buying. Was it worth it to them?
Even as adults, we see items we are infatuated with and modern technology makes it too easy for us to make quick purchases without a second thought. We really should take the time to think deeply about what we’re purchasing and why.
This is why I always go back to The Awesome Stuff. Determining what lights you up and sparks joy will help you to make better decisions on what you buy and what you hold off on. Will it make you feel good every time you use it, see it, or think about it? This is a practice that takes time, but will eventually become second nature.
Still allow yourself to buy the random stuff you get excited about. Once you make the purchase, take the time to think about if it was something that truly fulfilled you or not.
There is no right or wrong way to make a purchase. It’s not about the tangible stuff, it’s about how each purchase makes you feel.
Over time, you will know what excites you and what may have been a stupid purchase. You will condition your mind into reflecting on how each item makes you feel. Eventually, you will start easily resisting items that won’t bring you longer-term joy or fulfillment.
And the power in this mindset shift is that it’s not typical budgeting or saving where you feel lack or a feeling of doing without. You are choosing what really makes you happy. And understanding that most of our purchases won’t bring sustained joy. So rather than feeling poor and having less, you will ultimately feel richer and happier.
Oh, and understand that “stupid stuff” is also deeply personal. Try to release judgment of others based on the item(s) they buy. The thing itself is not what makes it a stupid purchase. It’s how it makes that person feel. It has nothing to do with the thing itself. And NOT judging the “things” people buy is just as important as being aware of what actually brings us joy. These small mindset changes will help all of us live richer lives.