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January 04, 2022

The lies we tell ourselves to keep spending

Consumer spending is a tricky thing, especially in a bum economy.

One day we’re told frugality is king, and that things got this way because of our recklessness with cash. The next, the only headlines you’ll see detail the need for us to spend, spend, spend or the downturn will keep kicking us in the gut.

We become like dogs being told to sit and roll over at the same time. How best to pump some dough into the market when it’s not the best time for our bank accounts to do so?

In most cases, we lie. We lie to ourselves to make excuses why we need that suit. That TV. That car.

It’s the kind of whacked-out psychology we use to push aside our consciences – and in times like this, it’s also the self-fibbing we need.

What are the lies we use? The blog Fabulously Broke has set up a list of the top five, and they break down like this:

1. “I … want to enjoy it now, not in a year.” – Unless it’s a fridge or a day-to-day necessity, the blog reads, it can wait. If you can’t afford to pay for it in cash now, don’t buy it.
2. “Hey, at least I didn’t buy the $150 version. Buying the $50 one is like saving $100.” – A particularly ridiculous logic here.
3. “I deserve a treat, it’s a reward for such a long, hard day at work.” – A kind of retail therapy, according to Fabulously Broke.
4. “You only live once.” – Money will always come and go. Don’t regret passing up that once-in-a-lifetime purchase.
5. “It’s an investment.” – An age-old favourite. Buying that new wardrobe is for your career. After all, that’s where you’re making your cash.

Looking up and down that list, you’ve probably used all five. Maybe even in the past month.

Any excuses you’d add to the rundown?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...