Assess your feelings when you spend

Jagjit Singh

IT is not an irony for a person like me who always advocates for savings and investment. That being the case where is the room for spending.

But I have to accept that not entire money is intended for savings and investment but we can’t lead a happy life without spending on things which matter to us.

Moreover, there is always a scope to spend beyond fulfilling one’s basic needs. This is where we had to make a hard choice to determine where to spend or on what to spend and where to control or on what not to spend.

This is not an easy decision to make because there are lot of tempting reasons which forces us to spend our money to buy one or the other thing. In such a situation it is important to devise a formula or principle which can guide us in determining where to spend and conversely where to avoid unnecessary spending.

First of all do we have any formula or principle of such nature? The pessimist would immediately say ‘no’, but if you concentrate on other side of the coin representing ‘optimism’ there certainly would be a solution. So in our pursuit to find a workable formula on this subject let us play a small game. We all know that on daily basis we spend money to buy various items/ things.

From this, let us exclude our shopping for basic things which in any case we have to buy in order to survive or rather prevail in today world. But you would agree that there are many things we buy on daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis which does not fall under the category of fulfilling our ‘basic needs’. Moreover it is a wellaccepted norm that any human being would buy certain things which strictly speaking may not be of basic nature but still necessary or desirable.

Now let me pose a difficult question to you. Whenever you buy desirable things – what kind of feeling do you get? I know it is quite difficult to answer this question.

Because your feelings are of mixed nature i.e. sometime you feel “GOOD”, while on purchase of some other items or things your feelings were not so good. And this is where our search for a formula or principle ends. A prudent application of this formula will guide us that we must spend money to buy things which make us to “feel good”.

Conversely we must avoid buying things which does not provide us a feel good factor. Practical spending is valuable and prudent, but you also deserve to enjoy some of the fruits of your labor. When you buy something that helps you feel good, you encourage a positive emotional response to money.

When you feel better about yourself, you naturally tend to be more productive. Does it make you feel good? Do you see something and think ‘must have it now’? Is it the pleasure of having money to spend on what you like? Shopping can be like a drug, it makes you feel good, and it’s addictive.

The bad effects are debt, having to borrow from friends (and maybe not even paying them back because you can’t,) and ‘buyer’s remorse’ where you feel guilty about your spending and a feeling of not being able to control yourself.

Often you might have observed that whenever you have bought a gift for any of your loved ones [whether for your parents, spouse, children, friend], the kind of feeling what you always get is of a “feel good factor” nature.

Alternatively on some other day you decided to visit a bar and drank the costliest whisky by spending almost the same amount of money [which you spent in buying gift for that special person in your life].

What kind of feeling you will have this time? Definitely you will have no good feelings but of remorse to have wasted your money. Remember, the amount spent is the same in both cases but the nature of feeling is different under each case. So next time before you pull out money from your purse to buy something, pause for a moment to determine what sort of feeling you are likely to get - post buying that stuff.

If you will feel good and fulfilling than you must go for it else postpone your decision to buy that things till you are fully convinced that spending money on it would make you feel good. This is the best way to avoid unnecessary spending. Finally let me wish you a happy spending imbedded with lots of good feeling.


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