# 16 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: Realize what it is you’re trying to buy when you spend money. The higher the expenditure the more this is necessary.
Money is a medium of exchange. Thus, it is a means, not an end. This is the first clue to understanding what money is for and how to use it properly. To obtain money, most people exchange something else of value, usually their time (which is the most valuable thing they have aside from health). Having received the money, they recognize hunger and the unsettled, dissatisfied feeling that comes with it. Aha! They think to themselves, I’ll exchange this newly acquired money for some food. Then, I won’t feel these pangs in my stomach or my emotions. Now comes the tricky part, along with the second clue. You don’t exchange money just for a different object (in this case food). Rather, you spend it attempting to buy a feeling expected to accompany the purchase. Your wallet is out. Now is the time to realize what you’re trying to buy.
Do you buy sustenance or satisfaction? Do you opt for an apple to quell your hunger, or a quarter pounder with cheese to flood your brain with dopamine along with the 650 calories? This is why, before parting with your hard-earned money, you must know what you’re trying to buy. Otherwise, you’ll end up with buyer’s remorse 90% of the time, thinking you were buying one thing and the resultant feeling isn’t what you bargained for.
Decades ago, economists were dumbfounded to learn people make emotion-driven choices when they spend. They don’t make calculated, objective, quantitative choices. They make emotional ones. This revelation gave rise to an entire sub-genre of economic theory called behavioral economics. Remember what is stated above, money is a medium of exchange. However, it is not so much the exchange of one type of goods (money) for another (food, clothing, a car, a house payment), rather, it is the exchange or one type of feeling for another.
If you question the validity of this, check your wardrobe. How many designer logos do you see? Why do you see them? You were buying a feeling. You were thinking, “People like me buy shirts like this.” There would be no such thing as conspicuous consumerism, or wearable iconography for that matter, if money wasn’t primarily spent for the feeling the buyer is trying to purchase.
That’s why I encourage you to know what you’re trying to buy before you part with the cheddar. You may find that what you’re hoping to purchase just cannot be bought with money.
I’ll leave you with this quote from a dear, departed mother of the guy I do some marketing work for. She said, ”Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a lot of nice items while you’re waiting to get happy!”
Don’t you love that?
Anyway, look back over your own experience and judge for yourself how many times you just had to have something. You craved it. You thought about how grand life would be once you got yours. And then you finally got it. And to your utter stupefaction, you found that it was a vapor you could wave your hand through. You didn’t feel nearly the way you thought you would and all you could think of was not what you bought, but how damn much you spent to feel so disillusioned. I’ve erred the same way. That’s why I say, you’ve got to know what you’re trying to buy.