Dumb Purchases

“Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.”

Benjamin Franklin

I’ve bought a lot of dumb things over my life. Random souvenirs from dives and surf shacks from family beach trips. A hodgepodge of tv shows, movies, books and video games I vaguely if at all remember. 

I didn’t think they were dumb in the moment, but looking back it’s easy to notice how frivolous most things we want are.

But even so, it’s hard to separate what purchases will be worth it or not. Even today, there’s still a lot of things I’d love to buy that are likely dumb purchase. When I say ’dumb things’ I mean any purchase that ultimately wasn’t worth the price or time. Anything that didn’t bring me joy or meaningful experiences. And anything that didn’t provide value or memories over the long run. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I owned (or still own) that I’m grateful for having. I’m grateful for growing up with Legos and I cherish all the memories I have with creating things or playing with my friends and family. 

I don’t play many video games nowadays (mostly out of lack of time), but there are certain games I played growing up I still think about and appreciate today. For example, the hours and hours playing rock band, final fantasy and a million other games with my cousin Cody during summer breaks. The countless hours and sleepless nights playing Halo with my friends. Or the games like Kingdom Hearts that have impacted who I am. I can think of plenty of examples in every type of purchase, from clothes to music. But I wouldn’t call these dumb purchase.

What’s dumb is all the crap I no longer have, barely used or eventually replaced with something else. I would so much rather have the money now than the random thrill I probably maybe could have got then. (With or without compound interest!)

Clothing and shoes come to mind. I love fashion. And with the right love and care, things can last for quite a long time. Looking good makes you feel good, so who knows how deep that effects the quality of your life. Maybe that new shirt you rocked on your interview did help you land that job. Who’s to say? But clothing wears out. Shoes need to eventually be resoled or replaced. 

I don’t know if I have a resolution to this. I’m not telling you to sell all your clothes and only wear jeans and white Hanes tee’s from now on. But one important thing to notice is how automatic and spontaneous most of our spending is. There’s often no room for thinking or prioritizing. Ohhh! Amazon is having a sale. Immediate purchase. Immediate delivery. (Which is why sales and scarcity are extremely effect sales strategies.)

Even a small delay from clicking complete order could help prevent you from buying something perhaps you don’t need (or something you want, but would rather put that money towards something worth more to you).

One great rule of thumb is to wait a day (or even a week) before buying something you want. 

The key is for us to invest in things that bring us joy and meaning in the long run, not just immediate desires that may fulfill you in fleeting moments.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #887

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Make $100, spend $80, the result is happiness. Make $100, spend $106, the result is pure misery.

— My Reinterpretation of a Charles Dickens line.

I recently wrote a post on my entitled “Your Self-Worth is Not Your Net-Worth”. One thing that I’d like to expand upon is although money should not define who you are, we still have to take ownership of our finances.

Ignoring money problems won’t make them go away. (or any problem, not just $)

If you’re spending more than you are saving, you’ve sprung a leak somewhere. Somewhere in your daily spendings, you’re buying a lifestyle you can’t afford yet. Whatever it is you’ve got to find the leak first before you can stop the boat from sinking. It’s incredibly easy to do and fall into nowadays with credit. Maybe you’ve bitten off more than you can chew with a car, or maybe you’re eating your money like I am. The issue I’m working on is how to eat healthy, like stupid mega healthy, while not spending my entire paycheck on food. I don’t know the answers, but I’m going to seek out the people who do and follow their lead.

For me, spending ultimately boils down to that first sentence above. If I’m spending 100% of my monthly income on super mega foods that make me feel good, I’m still going to be miserable because I’m left with no margin.

With this kind of spending, I’m no better off financially than a homeless man who spends all of his money on beer.

I­t­ comes down to control. Who / what are you going to let determine your life? Are you going to let lack of knowledge about money control your entire life? Are you going to give your time away to everything EXCEPT that creative dream you have? Are you going others determine you’re altitude in life?’’

The more things — addictions, ignorance, lack of knowledge, and resources — control you, the less control you’ll have over your future. But the more you learn and time you spend on your strengths and downsides, the further in life you will go.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life


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“Annual Income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” —  Charles Dickens (Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield)