Silly purchases and dopamine hits

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 9, 2019, 7:43 PM | comments: 0

I wasted a lot of money in my 20's buying crap. I always got that little dopamine hit when I'd come home from Best Buy with some CD's or movies. Sometimes I'd buy more expensive stuff, too, but I couldn't tell you what any of it was. (Except for the pair of speakers I still have in my living room after two decades... those were a good purchase.) The worst part of it is that I bought all of that crap on revolving debt, so I was paying interest as well. But I still remember the feeling, even if it was momentary.

I've been feeling that desire again lately, but generally have not acted on it. There are a lot of reasons for that. For one, I almost never go into retail stores for anything other than groceries. In a rare exception, I bought my current laptop over a year ago by going into a Best Buy, but haven't been in one since. Most stuff I buy online, which even through Amazon Prime does not have the immediacy or pleasure of buying in person. I also view money completely differently now, because I worked so hard to reverse my financial situation some years ago, and I'm behind in retirement. I rather buy an experience than more stuff, and our tenth anniversary New York trip is a perfect example of how great that ideology is. There are some big expensive things I'd like to buy, like a video camera or a pinball machine, but otherwise, there aren't many things I particularly lust after. Heck, I even struggle with all of the packaging to throw away when I have something new. I'm literally not set up to spend like I did in my 20's.

But what's missing that I'm getting the buying itch? I haven't been able to unpack that. I love my family and my job, and I derive meaning and purpose from those things. I have my share of stress certainly (maybe more than I should), but I'm trying hard to be deliberate about "me time" and such.

It might be that we've had some really uninteresting expenses. For example, we're finally going to get a water softener because we're tired of water stains in the bathrooms, the hydrogen sulfide smell, the toilets growing stuff every three days, etc. That's about as un-fun as buying something gets, but those big ticket items kind of eat into any "extra" cash.

I'm sure it's a passing feeling.


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