Perhaps This Purchase Will Make Me Into a Better Person

Mike: So one our most popular posts this week was this post by B. Benson talking about how he spent money on all these things in an effort to save money on things in the future. I think that post was so relatable because it’s something we all do, right? Spend money on things hoping it’ll make us better people somehow?

Meaghan: Um, yes: Where you try to get yourself excited basically by going on a big shopping trip to mark the beginning of your new lifestyle. SUCH AS: Buying a water bottle that says I <3 YOGA on it to take to yoga class, which I did approximately five years ago, and now am ashamed every time I use it—ashamed because it's dumb and I'm afraid people doubt I really love yoga. But I spent so much money on it I can't bring myself to buy another one. Like carrying it around is penance.

Mike: Well, did it make you heart yoga?

Meaghan: It did not, but it does make me drink more water. Neither did my $70 mat, or the $70 mat I bought Dustin recently so we could ‘do yoga together at home’ which we have done once.

Mike: Well, drinking more water is important too!

Meaghan: True! Saving $1 all the time on bottled water. What about you, do you do these things? My guess is you don’t.

Mike: Well, I also have a yoga mat that I don’t use! I am not impervious to making these kinds of purchases!

Meaghan: Ha, how human. We should do office yoga together (not really).

Mike: And it wasn’t even like, “I will buy this yoga mat and it will make me go to yoga.” It was: “I’m going to do sit-ups every night! And this yoga mat will make it easier on my back!”

Meaghan: Maybe you should have gotten an area rug, which in my mind does make you a better person, without the need for follow-through. Better being “adult” / “together” etc.

Mike: It serves more than one purpose! Which is the best kind of purchase. Plus, with the sit-ups thing, I always knew that I wouldn’t do them. I know that the only kind of exercise I like is running. No lifting weights (ha), no Soulcycling.

Meaghan: I feel like this phenomenon (spending money to save money) is most prevalent when it comes to exercise. And maybe cooking at home.

Mike: Yes! Though the cooking at home thing has actually been effective for me.

Meaghan: Like with making regular grocery trips? Or gear?

Mike: Both! I bought a food processor thinking it’d encourage me to cook more things, and it worked.

Meaghan: A food processor really does help I think! Hummus alone.

Mike: Especially since I don’t like premade jar sauce. Also: Smoothies.

Meaghan: Ha.

Mike: So many things.

Meaghan: Yeah smoothies are big. Pesto. That might be it.

Mike: Yes!

Meaghan: I’m excited for smoothie season to return.

Mike: Pie crusts!

Meaghan: That’s cheating.

Mike: Hah, is it?

Meaghan: For that you have to buy another kitchen object, which is the pastry knife.

Mike: Oh, I don’t have that.

Meaghan: See? You aren’t a good person.

Mike: Will buying a pastry knife make me a better person?

Meaghan: People might enjoy your pie crust more and therefore appreciate you more and, feeling more appreciated, you might be happier and go out of your way to make others happy. WORTH IT.

Mike: Hmm! I will consider it then!

Meaghan: (Ha, Dustin is Gchatting me an extensive list of all things I buy to become a better person right now.)

Mike: YES.

Meaghan: Finance books, running shoes, expensive creams, bulk bags of indian spices, picture frames. “Basically you attach aspirational hopes to most things you buy.” Okay this is getting too real.

Mike: Hey, some of those are legit purchases!

Meaghan: I have only bought one finance book and I do use that coriander. Do framed pictures make you a better person?

Mike: Perhaps they make you a happier person.

Meaghan: That’s true. Or a person with a stack of picture frames in the corner of her apartment. But the potential for happiness is there!

Mike: So my family over the holidays (*cough my mother cough*) told me I needed to lose a few pounds because I gained some holiday weight (don’t we all?), but I am not spending a dime to lose any of it.

Meaghan: Ooh we are going there, ok. But you have a plan to lose it for free?

Mike: Hah—well since we’re getting a little real here—but I guess it’s been making me not buy things? Like today I was going to get a chocolate croissant before I went to the office, and then I decided against it. So money not spent!

Meaghan: What if later you’re like, “Well I didn’t buy myself that croissant so that means I deserve ____” Maybe your Friday estimate will save you.

Mike: Hah—I’m guess I’m lucky that I don’t reason that way!

Meaghan: Do you think about that over the weekend, like, “Oh don’t want people to judge me on Monday.” I know its a judgement-free zone…but c’mon.

Mike: I’ve definitely gone over my estimate a few times! But no one has ever been unkind about it.

Meaghan: Ha! You just wait. Just kidding. But I do think accountability is a nice alternatve way to reinforce habits, vs the money-spending trap (“If I invest in this habit, then I will feel too guilty to not do it.” Or you know, don’t live your life based in guilt and fear.

Mike: Yes, agreed! Set your own goals, keep yourself accountable, and don’t beat yourself up for buying a yoga mat and never using it, because we’re all going to make these mistakes every now and then.

Meaghan: Preach.



12 Comments / Post A Comment

aetataureate (#1,310)

Put the yoga mats together and cut them into a decorative shape. Voila, an area rug!

(Recycling is even more grown up.)

garli (#4,150)

Dude, you don’t need a pastry knife to make pie crust if you have a food processor! Use the food processor.

@garli Truth! The beauty of the food processor is easy pie crust! Let me know if you need the best recipe! I love the Cook’s Illustrated vodka crust.

emilyo (#1,011)

I think this post backfired. It made me bite the bullet and purchase real silverware. #ThisIs40

j a y (#3,935)

Mike, the mat didn’t work for me either BUT the exercise ball is awesome. Easier to keep your feet down and keeps you of the floor.

bgprincipessa (#699)

I’ve lived in this house for almost 2 years and that stack of empty picture frames in my corner is definitely judging me. I should really work on that. It would make my house seem more decorated and I would get to be happy looking at pictures of friends/family/places I’ve been. voila, better person.

endofherleash (#201)

purchases that have recently made me a Better Person:
-new sheet/comforter set: when my bed looks good made, i’m incentivized to make it daily, which leads to general tidying of the whole bedroom
-electric kettle: drinking tea instead of soda
-set of drawers to put in closet: more room in dresser drawers means i fold things properly to fit
-space bags: finally compressed and stored extra blankets/towels/pillows which freed up tons of space in the hallway closet, so things don’t fly out when i open the door like a cartoon

ceereelyo (#3,552)

We are having office yoga today!! I’m excited but also I had to dress-rehearse my work out outfit as not to offend anyone with my bootie. I am using my $10 lululemon yoga mat that I bought at the outlet. My purchases that make me a Better Person usually include work-out gear or classes bought off of Living Social but this weekend I scored some workout gear super cheap at Target because I had a special coupon off their coupon app!

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

There are those fitness/home gym infomercials that use pitches like “just 20 minutes a day and you could be on your way to a better body, a BETTER YOU! Just 5 easy payments of $39.99 . . .” As if all it takes is time and money to be a better version of yourself! Granted, those things play a part in it (time does, at least). It’s an interesting sales technique. On a personal note, I have a yoga mat that I use very sparingly, a set of 3 lb weights that live on my desk and are only moved when I dust, and resistance bands still in the box.

thegirlieshow (#5,285)

I think for me the problem is that sometimes this approach works, like: buying a Dutch oven –> more cooking –> saving money on eating out, but then sometimes it backfires, like: buying running shoes –> never using –> ugh. It’s hard to know which outcome is more likely. And as always there is a fine line between Buying Grown Up Things Because I Am A Grown Up Hooray! and Buying Grown Up Things With Money That Theoretically Could Go Towards My Debt And By The Way How Can I Ever Actually Be A Grown Up With All This Debt Gaaahhhh. So it’s tricky for me, is what I’m saying.

francesfrances (#1,522)

My most recent better-person purchase: 2 pairs of fancy, super high-quality loafers. I will get rid of my flimsy Urban Outfitters loafers and enjoy my sturdy, adult shoes. This was a great purchase because I got two new pairs on eBay for less than the price of one new pair from the retailer. Not sure how much foot surgery will cost though. The break-in process is rough so far :-)

compbiochick (#5,805)

I used to fall trap to this all of the time, then I set a new rule for myself. I only make big purchases for a hobby once I’ve been doing it for three months/ for some tech goody if I’ve been thinking about it seriously for three months. Usually that’s enough time for me to decide whether I’m pursuing it seriously or whether the purchase would have just been on a whim.
Love the site by the way! I don’t have much money to manage at this point in my life, but hopefully I’m learning for the future :)

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