Throughout my life, I have fallen victim to the idea that spending money on myself was equivalent to investing in myself. I have shopped under the misguided belief that purchasing a material possession could alter or improve my character. Since the purchase would result in personal improvement, it was ok if the spending was extravagant or too expensive at the moment; the "investment" will pay dividends in the future!

Here's a list of some items I've "invested" in

  • I have several sets of meal prep containers I purchased, believing that the type of receptacle I possed would influence my cooking behavior.
  • I have subscribed to several premium software development interview prep courses because I thought spending the money would motivate me to dedicate more time to study.
  • I've purchased so many household organization products only for the house to remain messy because I never addressed the issue of my lack of consistency in cleaning and organization.

None of these purchases successfully altered my character, and my belief was a rationalization meant to justify my impulsive spending.

Internal Justifications

"Buy it nice or buy it twice" was a phrase I'd frequently repeat. While there is undoubtedly some truth to this statement, I had weaponized it to justify a consumption problem. Nothing inherent in that phrase indicates it's acceptable to live beyond one's means, which is what I was doing.

I had also convinced myself that spending money created some financial stake in a goal that would motivate me to achieve that goal. I only need to look at my pile of abandoned software development prep courses or old exercise equipment to know that this is a lie.

This week, "being better" means accepting that the claim that I was spending to "invest" in myself was just a hollow justification for excessive consumption.