Posted by Paul
A common problem I've seen with various people I've known who are in financial dire straits is the fact that they seem to buy things as a way to cheer themselves up.
Now, I also see people who I consider financially resposible also treating themselves to something when they've had an especially long day, or perhaps as a reward for completing a project around the house.
The difference that I've noticed is that the people who are in financial jeopardy often buy themselves big dollar items while the financial responsible people buy more simple treats.
For example, I know one person who is working their way out of several thousands of dollars in credit card debt. After a rough week as a way to cheer themselves up they bought a $300 stereo.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is pretty together as far as his finances. They spent the whole day working to complete a major project on their house so at the end of the day they treated themselves to a DVD movie they wanted (I think it cost them $12).
I don't see any harm in treating yourself to something every now and then, but I've noticed that often a simple treat (a new CD, eating dinner out, a trip to the ice cream parlor) can be just as satisfying of a pick me up as a big ticket item.
I also noticed that the people who had a tendency to buy big dollar items as a way to treat themselves were often in a dangerous spiral. They'd be in a troubled financial situation, so they would be more prone to stress and depression, they'd go out and buy some big item to cheer themselves up, plunging them further into a bad financial situation, making them more prone to stress and depression, and so on.
I think people should train themselves to take pleasure in the little things. Not only will it help your financial situation, but I think it will probably make you a happier person in general.
This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.