In yesterday’s post I shared 5 tips to avoid overspending this Christmas. These tips were focused on external things that we can do to rein in our spending.
Today I want to discuss the internal things that cause us to overspend at Christmas (and other times throughout the year).
Why do we overspend?
One big reason is that we begin selling ourselves on what we want rather than what we need. We listen to ourselves until we believe our own lies and then we opt for happiness now.
A crazy dynamic takes place here. The brain that should keep us out of trouble now becomes a part of the problem.
Once we get fixated on the happiness now option, we assign our brains the task of coming up with a list of very convincing reasons to support our choice. Reasons, by the way, that really have nothing to do with why we chose to buy what we did.
An example from my life of how this dynamic works
A while back I really wanted a flat screen TV and the opportunity (temptation) to buy one came up. Future Shop had a great sale on. They had a flat screen TV on sale for $379 with free shipping.
That’s a great deal, right? It seemed too good to be true. I came up with many “convincing” reasons why I “needed” this TV.
It could double as a monitor for my laptop (very practical, right?).
It would be better for our eyes (you know, bigger picture, less glare).
I am never going to find a better deal than this (this one always works for me).
It will be better for the kids to play Wii on (I admit that one was weak but it seemed like a good reason at the time).
Very convincing reasons, right?
The problem was we didn’t have $379 to buy a new TV!
But once I had fixated my thoughts on having that TV and how happy it would make me, it was very difficult not to buy it.
Once I chose happiness now, I told my brain to come up with some good reasons to justify it. I nearly convinced myself but thankfully I had a moment of clarity and I didn’t purchase it.
Don’t settle for happiness now!
Don’t believe the lies this Christmas season when it comes to your purchases! Don’t settle for happiness now (which is only temporary until the credit card bill comes in January).
Remember, Christmas isn’t about the gifts, and it’s not about stuff!
I love this quote from Dave Ramsey. He said:
“Don’t think the spirit of Christmas is about ‘stuff.’ You can have a giving spirit without having a negative checking account. Don’t forget the reason for the season.”
How do you overcome the temptation to settle for happiness now?