This is part of my series on How To Be A Good Person.
We’ve all been there. We saw something special that struck our fancy and a little voice in our head said, “I must have this. And I must have it right now!!”
Chippy, the voice in my head, sees 37 things a day that he desperately wants. And when something catches his eye, buying it becomes the most important thing in the world. He whispers how my life will be better, even magical if I “just buy this one thing.” He behaves as if we’ve just contracted Ebola and the last bottle of antidote is for sale. His persistent pleas sound like Bob Wiley from What about Bob? when he says, “C’mon, please, please. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I need, I need, I need, I need.”
I learned the hard way not to say, “No” to Chippy. The only thing worse than a toddler’s tantrum is a tantrum from one of the voices in your head.
Instead, I say, “Not yet.”
Put It On Your “Waiting List” And Wait 48 Hours
Whenever Chippy is enamored with a product, usually on Amazon, I tell him that he has to wait 48 hours. Chippy often worries that we will forget what the product is or we won’t be able to find it in 48 hours. To assuage his concern, I put the item on an Amazon wish list or in a “Wish list” notes file that synchronizes between my phone and computer.
Chippy is never happy about waiting for the latest object of his desire, but he grudgingly agrees to these terms. Three hours later Chippy has moved on and declared that he “must have” some new shiny thing.
I have learned that waiting 48 hours to buy something results in me (and Chippy!) losing interest in the item. 98% of the time it was a passing infatuation and I ended up not buying it.
I cannot begin to calculate how much money I have saved by waiting 48 hours to buy stuff.
Limit Desire By Limiting Your Exposure To Ads
The more ads you see, the more things there are for you to want. So limit the ads you see each day.
For example, in my house, there’s no concept of television with commercials. We don’t have a TV antenna, cable TV, or satellite TV. Everything we watch comes from Netflix, Amazon, or my home media server. My kids see fewer ads than I did growing up and ask for fewer things than I did.
I also run an ad blocker in my browser on all home computers. No popups. No flashy banner ads.
Fewer ads mean fewer things for Chippy to desire. And that saves me money.
What’s In Stewie’s Wish List?
Looking at someone’s wish list is like peering into their soul. I have hundreds of items, mostly books, spread across multiple wish lists. Books include:
- The Institute by Stephen King
- Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
- Abstract City
- The Journey to the West
- Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works
- Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
- Jurassic Park (Spanish Edition)
I have every intention of buying and reading those books, but I know, realistically, I never will because there will always be some new book to catch my attention. My wish lists are lists of books I’ll never read. (And that makes me feel a little sad.)
Other stuff on my wish lists:
- Bookshelves e.g. Southern Enterprises Spine Book Tower
- Physics toys e.g. Westminster Magic Balancing Bird
- Puzzle Boxes e.g. Yosegi Puzzle Box
- Arts and Crafts e.g. AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator Machine
Every day there are dozens of things that grab your attention and the little voice in your head demands that you, “Buy this!” Maybe it’s a keyboard waffle iron, a 27 inch and 80-pound gummy rattlesnake, or a copy of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of Sky.
Tell that voice, “Not yet.” Wait 48 hours and you’ll forget about the thing. And you’ll save money.
Be well, my friend.