Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wal-Mart Cushions and Lesson in Need vs. Want

I just moved to a new apartment. I don't have couch because I calculated cost of moving my old couch was at least $100 (truck rental, insurance etc). I don’t watch TV sitting on couch (I am bed TV person) and I rarely entertain people in my apartment. Instead, I have mattress and matching carpet (gift from my parents).

During my last visit to Wal-Mart, I saw these wonderful Mainstays accent cushion (see photo) which I think will go perfectly with my décor giving my living room eastern longue vibe. However they cost $40 for 4. Do I really need it? No. But, technically, I don’t even need my boxers. Do I want it? Yes. But, I want so many things in life such as fire proof safe for external hard drive (which was sitting in next shelve).

I realized that need vs. want thing didn’t make sense. I asked myself instead, how (and how often) is it going to enhance quality of my life? My answer was probably never because I don’t expect any visitors in my apartment or myself get any pleasure by admiring my own décor (it's a need for others) . I don't even know if they are decorative pillows or accent cushions. I decided not to buy them.

For few minutes, there was sense of regret and loss for not buying those wonderful cushion that match my color palette. I started to rationalize the possible purchase with I am already saving money trap. However, after half an hour, when I reflected back, I felt really good on my self control. The satisfaction I got from my self control was greater than any pleasure I would have got by admiring my living room’s décor.

So, the question, I need to ask is – How (and how often) this is going to enhance quality of my life? And as a reminder mental satisfaction is a need that many people ignore but we should to ask ourselves is it only thing that satisfies my mental need?

1 comment:

  1. I really like your blog -- when you talk about strategies that you actually use, it has the ring of truth that I don't get from a lot of the articles I read on the topic.

    I'm a social worker in Michigan with a special interest in financial issues. I'm hoping to give a talk at the annual conference of my professional association, and will mention your blog in my handouts. If it's ok with you, I'd like to use some of your strategies (giving you credit, of course), in my talk on how social workers can help folks with debt problems.