It is one of our 10 commandments declaring “thou shall not covet”, but is our dna designed to work another way. Is the programming so hard coded that we cannot stop the QVC must have right now moment. All of the products get sold literally the next day, because they caught you on the couch late at night coveting thing. Not things you need, but rather things that you want. So many people buy like this, that it puts a strain to actually deliver all of these products within three days. So how do we reprogram ourselves not to covet?
The first thing is to buy only want you NEED. This is something that costs over $50, then your spouse should have to agree that it is something that not only you need, but you need it now. Sometimes just pushing it out of the queue and saying that we will need to get that down the road sometime takes it off of the front burner. the longer you ponder it, without dismissing it, the closer you come to giving in. At the same time, things under $50 that you just want to pick up here and there. Then the kids asking for things that they really WANT. Explaining the need process to them when they have noticed in the past that you have not applied those same principles to your own buying. Kids can spot a hypocrite as early as two years old. They do not use words like hypocrite, but the will say “how come when you…”. You get the point. You need to own for yourself so you can be somewhat authentic when guiding and instructing your children. So the first principle is buy what you need and have your spouse hold you accountable, as you hold her accountable.
Buy good enough. There is no real value or advantage of buying on the bleeding edge. You are part of that curve that got swept up in the land of “everyone has one but me:(“. If you analyze what you need something for and buy to that need, you will find used or lower cost models will do more than enough. You do not over buy in case some day you want to be a professional gamer.
If you want something bad enough, then earn the right to buy it. Put together a savings envelope where you purposely set money aside for that acquisition. If you take a long-term view of the acquisition it can develop good saving habits for other areas you will want to save up for.
Do not buy something that you do not need, just because it is 50% off, 60% off or even 90%off. Only leverage discounts when it supports a need that you are already in process of procuring. My wife bought me a new office chair. We had set aside a specific amount. This had crossed over from a want to a need. I sit down in that chair at least 8 hours every day and I need to make sure that I am not have health problems attributed to my work environment. Once the chair was selected within the price range we discussed, then she proceeded to inquire about discounts and coupons. I am not quite sure how she did it, but it account for a $100 savings. My wife made the discounts work for us.
When looking at the big acquisition like buying a home in say Laguna Beach, look at the long-term cost of ownership. You may be able to pay cash for the home, but the property taxes will likely be the size of mortgage. The landscaping costs, the pool cost… You may have enough to buy the house, but you become house poor. No money is left over to get you that ergonomically correct chair to save your health.
In the end, these are tools. We really need to redefine what makes us happy. That can be found in a small home, with second hand furniture with children fully capable of finding out how to stay out of debt as they enter the world from outside of the protective bubble of home. Just enjoy what is right there in front of you right now.