I used to be stereotypical when it came to my spending habits…boy at heart who loved his toys. Be it a BBQ, kayak, or remote controlled anything. However, as I get older I’m learning to distinguish between what brings me happiness compared to what gives me (a generally fleeting) pleasure.
The difference between happiness and pleasure is sometimes hard to distinguish. Pleasure tends to be more singular and momentary, an ice cream on a hot day, the new phone or the latest fashion. However, as pleasure tends to be short lived you need to keep on buying or chasing the same pleasures or experiences to keep the positive feelings.
Ultimately, attempting to keep chasing this pleasure often leads to feelings of guilt, anxiety or even depression over money spent or choices made.
In comparison, happiness is more a state of mind bringing a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. For me that tends to be in the form of ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’…time spent with family or relaxing on the beach.
I’ve definitely bought my fair share of things over the years, the vast majority of which have either been thrown out or gathering dust in the shed. Do I still have my vices? Of course I do, we all do. However, I encourage you to start giving conscious thought to what you will and just as importantly what you will not buy. For me it’s books and music, I have given myself free range to buy what ever books or music I like without needing to justify it to myself. Do I have too many unread books? Potentially…but I’m comfortable with it and have no regret as I will read them.
Keeping up with the Jones’ won’t make you happy. Don’t take the easy option and justify it to yourself as you can afford it, feelings of guilt and anxiety don’t care what you can or can’t afford.
So, take a minute, be honest with yourself and truly think about whether that latest purchase will bring you happiness or just a momentary pleasure.