(How does that indulgent purchase feel compared to experiences you’ve spent money on?)
Clutter is baggage and can underscore indulgent purchases. What is an indulgent purchase? I’m willing to bet you had an immediate answer, not a second wasted in thought, on the tip of your tongue, before you finished reading that sentence. Is it a three-quarter length chocolate brown leather coat that you charged and paid off in three installments plus interest, hanging in the closet that hasn’t seen the light of day for several years because it doesn’t fit the same as when you first bought it and it’s no longer in style? Perhaps the fountain pen you paid $500 for is sitting in your desk still waiting for the day when you will sit and write long letters to friends and family? For a moment, stop and think, “What is my most indulgent purchase?”
Often times indulgent purchases may require justification because they were an impulsive decision. Indulgent purchases can be the choice that feeds your vices. Retail therapy, lethargy and/or denial of a difficult situation or period of life are the perfect combination for spending on, and justifying, an indulgent purchase. Right behind the feeling of immediate gratification comes the feelings of regret and perhaps irresponsibility. And, thanks to clutter, a visual reminder of the physical baggage.
The good news is a study shows that buying “experiences” is good for you. (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/to-buy-happiness-purchase-an-experience) The “happiness magic” is all in what, how and where you spend your money. Aside from the excitement of the initial purchase “high” of a material indulgence, the experience of the purchase can be short-lived and generally does not hold long interesting. When you spend less money on “stuff”, you spend less on maintenance of the “stuff”, rewarding you with more discretionary income.
More discretionary income means there’s more opportunity to buy experiences. Having fun, exciting experiences and making memories is something we look forward to and we get to re-live those experiences when sharing them with others over the course of a lifetime. The positive feelings we get from experiences is satisfying and lives longer in our hearts and emotions. The memories from the experience last a lifetime. And isn’t it more exciting and engaging to share about something you’ve done rather than something you own?
As you declutter your living space, you create space, the breathing room for clarity to uncover what you really want, what makes you truly happy and how you want to feel. The next time you find yourself about to make an impulsive, indulgent, or debt producing purchase, ask yourself these questions: 1) Am I buying for immediate gratification? 2) Am I buying because of the status it represents? 3) Am I buying to “fit in” because everyone else has it? or 4) Am I buying an experience?
May your next purchase be a happy memory.