January 20, 2008

Shopping Deception

How many people can say that they may operate in a cloud of self-deception? After reading chapter six of Cowen's book it seems that I may be one of those people. I found several portions of this chapter to be particularly relevant to my life and to the lives of people who are close to me. I am an avid shopper as are many of my friends. By this I mean I will go at any time whether or not I have the money to do so. Inevitably I find something that I must have, and if I don't buy it right then I just dream about having it until I finally get it. If I never get it, I always wonder what if, or I really wish that I had that. I know this is a silly thought for those who have never had this "problem." And it probably sounds like a deep dark confession I should have weekly meetings to talk about, but when Cowen talked about self deception his points on this subject were very relevant. If I go to make a large purchase that may or may not have been planned, I will often buy little unnecessary things along with it just because I don't think it matters as much cause I am already spending a lot of money. Bad idea! How do I look at this in a more logical and direct way, and step outside of my own self-deception? Cowen suggests paying for items as you pick them up so that you calculate the costs as you go and are able to properly maintain your finances. I think that this is wise advice that is applicable to even grocery shopping.

One question that this "new" type of shopping behavior brought to mind however is, what about efficiency. Doesn't it just make sense to buy all of my items at once and save myself the time of waiting in a check out lane every five minutes that I pick something up. Just a second ago I was prepared to write, "look out Target, here comes a smart shopper," but maybe the best thing to write is watch out wallet here come my bad spending habits. The best way to deal with this type of personal self deception in my case is to just not have access to all of my money at one time. I know that I am able to block some amounts of lavish spending purely by not having access to all of my money while I am at the store. Now, what to do about those high limit credit cards? Shread them!

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