Don’t Buy Tomorrow’s Junk
Remember that cool thing you bought recently? Maybe it was a DVD, maybe a new shirt?
You were excited when you bought it. But then you watched it or wore it a couple times—and suddenly you were bored with it. You bought this thing expecting it to give you lots of fun for a long time. But it didn’t—and now you’d be happy to give it away.
That’s “Tomorrow’s Junk.”
In this section we’ll show you how to spot Tomorrow’s Junk before you buy it, and how to get more enjoyment from the things you spend your money on.
Before a purchase, imagine it’s a few days from now. Ask yourself, “Still excited I own this?”
The Tomorrow’s Junk Test
Wondering if the thing you want is worth buying? Give it the Tomorrow’s Junk test. Imagine it’s a few days in the future, and picture the item in your room. If it’s a DVD, let’s pretend you’ve watched it a couple times. If it’s clothing, pretend you’ve already worn it. Picture the item sitting in your room. Now ask yourself, “Am I still excited that I own this thing? Or am I bored with it already?” If you imagine you’ll be bored with the thing in a few days, then you need to decide if the use and enjoyment you’ll get in those few days (or less) is worth what item costs. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
This simple technique can save you from a zillion purchases you’ll regret—and a home full of junk.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Owning more things doesn’t make you any happier.
The Rule of Habituation
Habituation is a fancy way to say that when something wonderful or awful happens to us, the shock eventually wears off, and we go back to our normal happiness level.
Most people who win lotteries find themselves back at their pre-lottery level of happiness within two years. The thrill of getting rich doesn’t last. That’s habituation. People who suffer tragedy, like getting paralyzed, soon get back to their normal happiness level too. Surprisingly, the misery of losing the ability to walk doesn’t last either.
Think of everything you own. At one time, each thing was “the new thing” you were excited about. Now it’s just stuff. That’s habituation.
The initial thrill of anything you spend your money on will fade sooner or later. If you know that, you won’t be disappointed by any purchase.
Before you buy, ask yourself, “Will I be glad I own this next month? Tomorrow? Later tonight?”
Is everything Tomorrow’s Junk?
If sooner or later you’ll get tired of everything you buy, does that mean it’s not worth buying anything? Is everything Tomorrow’s Junk? Not at all. Sometimes you’ll buy an item that you enjoy for years. But other times you’ll buy something that you use for only a short time. That’s okay, too.
What’s important is that you know which category your purchase falls into… before you buy.
That way, you’ll avoid the trap millions of people fall into: buying something expecting it to make you happy for a long time—only to end up frustrated and sad as the excitement quickly wears off.
Look around your room. Remember that the things you now ignore were once your hot new items.
Benefits of not buying Tomorrow’s Junk
If you can learn how to avoid buying Tomorrow’s Junk, you will:
- Save yourself from a lot of purchases you’d end up regretting
- Save yourself countless wasted dollars
- Protect your room—and your life—from filling up with junk
- Enjoy the things you do buy much more
- Make your money cushion much fluffier
- Have head start on future larger purchases
Remember the old “new things”
Every so often, look around your room. Check your closet. Your stuff in the garage. Remember: at one point all of these things you now ignore were the hot new things you were so excited about. Looking through all your Tomorrow’s Junk items once in a while is a great way to remind yourself that you can’t rely on buying new things to keep yourself happy.
Not buying “tomorrow’s junk” will…
- Save you from countless wasted purchases
- Save you from countless lost dollars
- Save you from having your room—and your life—fill up with junk
- Ensure you enjoy the things you spend your money on much more
- Give you a great head start on smart spending habits as an adult
What is habituation?
One more takeaway
As we’ve pointed out in previous rules—like Protect Monday Me and Avoid the Spending Rip Current—we often spend money in the hopes that it’ll make us happy.
Often when someone goes out and buys this cool thing and that new gadget and those designer clothes—and all of that stuff becomes tomorrow’s junk—those disappointments are very difficult to handle. That’s because the person doesn’t know why all the cool stuff they’re filling their lives with isn’t making them happy.
But now that you understand this rule—that excitement always fades away—you won’t put that kind of pressure on the things you buy. You’ll know that no thing, no purchase, can make you happy forever. Only you can do that.