Cheap Thrill

“Cheap thrill” is such a bad name for something so sinister, maybe it should really be called something-that-won’t-last-so-i-can-keep-buying-and-feel-happy-for-a-fleeting-moment.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy things, but consider instead of constantly buying cheap things you may only use once or twice then be discarded or stashed away never to see the light of day again, take a serious look at your needs and buy something that fits your need and will be as useful to you in 15 years as it would today.

To me, cheap thrill is a terrible slop to slide on, it’s not just about buying things you don’t actually need, it’s about buying things you don’t need and won’t last and probably won’t have much of a purpose beyond a few minutes of “well that’s interesting”, and making a habit out of it.

“Is it such a bad thing? I mean it is only 20 dollars!”

Perhaps if you got more money than you know what to do with. That’s not the case for most of us regular folks who work for a living. Have you ever wonder after checking out at costco what could possibly have costed you 200 dollars? All you got some some chocolate bars, a roast chicken and some frozen food. Upon closer inspection of the receipt you have came to realized all it took was a few double digit items and probably nothing too far north of 25 dollars for a single item.

How quickly it adds up! Imagine each one of those is one of the “cheap thrills”. 20 dollars here, 50 dollars there, by the end of the month it could be 300 or more dollars. The money also isn’t the worst problem here, it’s reinforcing a habit. You’ve already spent 50 bucks on some stuff, might as well throw in a few more things. Few days later, thinking another 20 or 30 dollars wouldn’t hurt much because you’ve already went over the budget for this week/month anyway.

If it’s so bad what could be done about it? I can’t tell you what you should do but here are a few things I did to help me.

Let the idea of purchase sit for a while, at least a couple of hours, leave your computer or store, go for a walk or eat something. It gives you time to reflect and think, usually I end up realizing I have no use for it, and the dire need to buy subsides. Personally I do this all the time with watches, I enjoy looking at the watches around 100 to 250 dollar range (cheap enough to make my brain go “let’s buy it now!”), but I have virtually no use for any of them other than when I attend weddings or something fancy, but those occasions doesn’t happen often enough to justify the purchase of such items.

I also try to research similar items that are much more expensive (not overly so, but just something you’d expect from a higher quality product, watches I tend to go around one to three thousand dollar range) than the cheap thrill but would be of much higher quality and would last me forever, or at least many years to come. Usually so doing would result in a huge decline in willingness to purchase the cheap thrill, either realizing perhaps it’s not what I wanted or now I want to buy the more expensive thing, not the ideal outcome, but usually the price is enough to stop me.

Another thing is I would send the cheap thrill to a friend who is knowledgeable, if I lack a friend with the required expertise I would run it by my wife or any friend. The maven friend would usually recommend something else and overload you with information, at which point it becomes too much trouble so the purchase is off. The normal friends and my wife would usually say “sure, but do you really need it?” most of the time if I answered yes I’d be lying, that would normally stop me.

After a while of doing this it has become easier and easier not to buy something, it literally requires less things to be done, and less things to do in life makes for a better life. Next time the credit card bill comes you’d be delighted at how small the number is.

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