The Little Lies We Tell To Let Ourselves Spend

Frugal For Life lists some of the things we tell ourself that rationalize irrational buying decisions, things like “I’ve been working really hard” or “this one little thing won’t be a big deal.” One that I’ve been guilty of is, “I have plenty of allocated disposable income and I never got the nice things as a kid that other kids got so now it’s my turn to have the toys.” We all do it, the trick is to catch yourself doing it and counteract the impulse by asking if the purchase is really important, necessary or of good value. What do you find yourself telling yourself makes you spend or spend extra for the upgrade?

Excuses To Buy [Frugal For Life]
(Photo: Maulleigh)


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  1. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Oh, Christ, I’ll start.

    – I’m not poor anymore, so I don’t have to settle for the quality poor people settle for.
    – I need the extra one in case the first one breaks.
    – It would make a good gift.
    – It’s a good investment.
    – I’ll need it for a business trip.

    And the number one excuse, germinated as Hurricane Rita was bearing down on Houston:

    – It’s for the emergency storage closet.

  2. warf0x0r says:

    Hrmmm, so buying a new PC each year so I can play one game isn’t necessary?!?

    Wow, I just saved 2k each year for every year of the rest of my life, not adjusted for inflation. Maybe I’ll add it to my retirement savings, or I could develop a nice cocaine addiction. Hrmmm.

  3. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    Sometimes I dream about
    shopping at The Goodwill store
    on their regular days and not
    their 2 for 1 days.

  4. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    [me lying to myself]
    “No one will have to know. Well, except maybe the credit reporting agencies, the IRS, my wife, VISA/Mastercard/Amex, the mortgage industry, the under-government, God, various banks, probably your parents.”

    There is a lot of disclosure between myself and I

  5. juri squared says:

    “I’m stressed out and deserve something nice.”

    Why yes, I am guilty of indulging in retail therapy! Why do you ask?

  6. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Actually, my fiance and I could turn this into a vaudeville routine.

    – The cat needs company while we’re at work. (Just before getting another kitten.)
    – The Advance of Technology! Muahahaha…. (Just before buying that just came out that revolutionizes the way something works that we had no complaint about before.)
    – It’s Ikea, so it’s affordable! (And while we’re here, look at all the other cool stuff we can’t live without!)
    – If it fits and I like the way it looks on, I should get a second one in a different color. (After all, nobody will notice… I work in IT).
    – My nephew got his report card and he’s in honors everything. Partay!! (And I’ve been meaning to try that new chichi seafood place anyway.)

  7. bbbici says:


    Actually, buying something of high quality is a really good reason, not an excuse.

    I always ask myself if i really need something now. I find spending the money on services (massages, theatre, restaurants, etc) is just as satisfying and is much better for the environment.

    Another good idea is to continually give away your old clothes, books, eyewear, whatever, to friends or associations that could use them.

  8. Fist-o™ says:

    “This person wouldn’t rip me off! It must be a good deal… I don’t have to shop around, they’re family/Friend!”

  9. gniterobot says:

    “I need 2 more gold plated toilet brushes”

    Works everytime, regardless of the product.

  10. Anonymously says:

    “It will make my girl friend happy if she gets it.”
    or, alternatively, “It will make my girl friend angry if she doesn’t get it.”

  11. manok says:

    I’m gonna work my whole life and save every penny. I’ll die rich but at least I never bought that BMW I always wanted. Thanks Consumerist for showing me the way!

  12. says:

    a good excuse to not shop

    “ill just take a nap instead”

    works every time!

  13. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @bbbici: Thanks, chum :) But it’s an excuse when it’s an excuse. I don’t actually DO this since I don’t drink coffee, but the best example I can think of is somebody who dumps “that Folgers crap” in favor of a Starbucks latte venti breve with hazelnut syrup every morning on the way to work. As I said, I don’t drink coffee, so I have no opinion on whether Starbucks is actually better quality or not (so for Christ’s sake don’t start bickering, y’all). What’s important is the perception…

  14. ratnerstar says:

    Oh, I have all sorts of excuses:

    “But I haven’t bought any bourbon since noon.”

    “How else am I supposed to dispose of the body?”

    “She doesn’t look like she has any venereal diseases.”

    And of course:

    “Dick would like this, and it’s recompete time on our contract with the DoD.”

  15. night_sky says:

    OK, I’ll come clean. My #1 excuse is, “It’s outdated. Look at all the cool new features they’ve added to X product!”

    I hang my head in shame. Curse you technology gods!!

  16. DeeJayQueue says:

    “I work for my money so that I can spend my money. This is what I want to spend my money on.”

  17. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    “But it’s such a good deal!”

    Yeah, it was hard to for me to pass up a really good price on something, even though I didn’t need it. But I’ve gotten out of that habit in recent years. Thank goodness; I was starting to run out of space to store all that junk.

  18. sonichghog says:

    Hey, If I listen to all the advice I hear about saving on the consumerist, the Feds will get extra when I die.

    Come on, you can’t take your money with you. If you have extra cash, you should enjoy yourself, or spend on things your family would enjoy.

  19. MustyBuckets says:

    “This costs 20 bucks, but it will bring me enjoyment for at least 20 hours, and I think enjoyment is worth a dollar an hour.”

    I think it’s good, and that’s not factoring in things that after I use other people will too, or things I sell when I’m done with.

  20. Ben Popken says:

    Oh I forgot this one,

    “It’s deductible!”

  21. “But I hardly ever spend money on myself!”

  22. forever_knight says:

    “she has aids? oh my… i’ll risk it! condoms are so overated and expensive”

  23. forever_knight says:

    @sonichghog: uh, the consumerist isn’t about always saving and never spending. it’s about responsible spending and not spending yourself into debt.

  24. sonichghog says:

    @forever_knight: True, but in the article one one of the reasons was
    “I have plenty of allocated disposable income and I never got the nice things as a kid that other kids got so now it’s my turn to have the toys”

    Its disposable income.

    With respect to credit, then sure, watch your spending.

  25. SaraAB87 says:

    I just ask myself, will I use it? Pointless to purchase something you will not actually use. Also take a hard look at past purchases in order to influence future ones. If you bought a video game console last year and never played it whats the point of going out and spending $250+ on the latest one this year?

    Chances are if your using it, especially on a daily or near daily basis then “it” is a worthwhile purchase and you will get your money’s worth out of whatever item it is.

  26. erratapage says:

    You know… having access to a quality product is not a reason to spend. Once you’ve made the decision to spend, then you probably SHOULD choose a quality product.

    For example, I have a really cheap vacuum cleaner. It still works, so I don’t need another one. If I do buy another one, I will want to do a cost/benefit analysis to make the most efficient use of my money. (I have discovered that I would have to go through a significant number of cheap vacuum cleaners before an expensive one would make sense).

  27. Maulleigh says:

    I have the opposite problem. I’m not worth anything at any time. Tap water in cheap restaurants; dumping my corpse in the ocean.

    They’ll find all my money stuffed under the floorboards of my house. A waste really.

    People give me gift certificates that go un-used. I should probably go to a therapist but they’re so bloody expensive!

  28. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    I make my own soap

  29. Melsky says:

    I think one of the easiest ways to spend money is to tell yourself that you are going to make money on what you are buying, like buying beads and saying you are going to make and sell jewelry and never doing it. I’ve experienced that both as a consumer and a sales person when I used to manage a bead store.

    I sell my paintings now but it’s really easy to overspend on supplies and hoard them! I make myself use what I have before I buy more stuff, no matter how good the price is.

  30. theblackdog says:

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen this one:

    It’s on sale! or alternatively
    I have a coupon for it!

    I’ve been the victim of that one, but now I’m actually saying “Do I really truly need this” and I’ve talked myself out of a lot more purchases