What is it about consumer goods that makes us lose our heads?
I’ve got my heart set on buying a HTC Touch mobile phone at a whopping $650 and am in the process of trying to justify that I need touch screen technology and Windows Mobile software.
For the record, my mobile phone has died, and my Palm Pilot, which holds my contacts and calendar is long in the tooth and appears to be on its way to the technology grave as well. In order to be efficient in my job also need to carry my contacts and calendar with me and sync them with my computer.
Yes, I know I could of course carry a paper-based contacts book with me. But I work better with electronic solutions.
Nor am I averse to buying second-hand goods. Phones, and other electrical equipment, however seem to have limited lives and I don't want to buy one that has little life left in it.
Fortunately I always ponder purchases for so long that I either end up not making them, or I have a brainwave as to how I can save money.
What's more, on the rare occasion that I make a mistake, I immediately hock the item in question off on TradeMe to recover some or all of my loss. I've even been known to make a profit.
We all make excuses to buy "things". It’s like when you hear people saying they are "investing in" a new car. What a strange investment - since cars loose value as soon as you drive it off the lot.
I read a really interesting book about spending addictions as research for an article and was fascinated with the link between our spending patterns and state of mind (mental health). Spending is an emotional crutch for many people, says Sally Coleman, author of Can't Buy Me Love.
But it is often very unsatisfactory as a solution to personal problems. That's because "things" may give us instant gratification, but they don't address the deeper problems, so the spending addict has to buy more in search of that elusive happiness.
I saw spending addiction described as one of the seven deadly personality disorders. It certainly can bring enormous unhappiness to individuals and families. The twin financial demons of spending addiction, and the related poverty addiction are just that: addictions. They can be treated.
Coleman says obsessive-compulsive spending behaviour distracts money misuses, thereby masking deeper life problems and fears and keeping them at a distance in the same way that alcohol or gambling does, says Coleman.
Watch the rest of the videos in this series.
Just because people like spending, doesn't make them a spending addict. But they still may have spending excuses. I did a Google search to find some common excuses, which included:
I never had anything nice as a child and I deserve nice things now.
I'm a funny shape so I have to shop at designer stores
I can afford to
I deserve everything I want, or I deserve luxury
I need it
It's on sale or it's a bargain
I'll never see it that cheap again
If I don't get it now, it may not be available in the future
This will be my last big purchase
There is a lot of information out there on this kind of addiction. Check out How to stop spending and Are you a money master or money mess?
So what is the last thing you justified buying that you didn’t really need?