Last weekend while strolling through an Urban Outfitters, I spied a rack full of belts on sale. One of them, the Ecote Sparrow Stretch Belt, caught my eye – it fits very well, and has an interesting hardware detail that I haven’t seen anywhere else. And, it was only $10 on sale (marked down from $24, the price still in effect online). So I got it. It’s a great belt, and I have already worn with the dresses and cardigans (cinching the waist – see, I AM learning from style bloggers!). Yes, it has only been a month and I have already broken my No Accessories Rule I’ve set out in my stab at minimalism.
Later that day I was chatting with a girl friend, and she asked me how my day was. I told her I bought a new belt, then I added, “$10 isn’t too much to pay for happiness.” I meant that tongue-in-cheek, but a little part of me realized that it’s true – buying the belt really did bring a jolt of happiness.
Why do these little purchases make us happy? Before anyone say it’s a phenomenon limited to women, I know that when CB is feeling down, a $10 DVD is a little pick-me-up for him. I think most people use these small, arguably frivolous purchases as pick-me-ups. I may prefer a used book, a tube of lipstick, or a package of cookies; someone else might want a cheap bottle of wine or 5 songs from iTunes.
Dave Bach would cringe at this “Latte Factor”, but I don’t really feel compelled to stop these purchases. I am not sure what it says about my personal finance discipline or lack thereof. I arrange my finances by making the high-impact decision once (maxing out my 401K, for example), so I can have room to enjoy these small indulgences and still meet my goals. Still, there is something vaguely disconcerting about shopping to feel happy.
Do you make these small purchases? And do they make you happier?
Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters