Shopping–Needs, Wants and Me-Me’s

Got all your holiday shopping done? Picked up a few things for yourself along the way? Join the club; it’s hard to resist the urge to buy “just a little something” for yourself when you’re either online or in the store.

All those choices; all those colors; all those discounts; all that FREE shipping–just add it to the cart or put it on the card and you’ve got something special just for you! After all, you may never see a deal like that again! AND maybe you need it/deserve it/covet it/ love it/can’t live without it/would trade your partner for it (well, maybe a little exaggeration here, but you get the point.)

Buying that thing for yourself just made the whole experience of spending money on everyone else feel just a little bit better. Now, you deserve to treat yourself. Ever stop to think about why you buy the stuff you do? Is it frequently because you “deserve” it? If it is, this could be a good time to think about the differences between the need, want and me-me buys. This is time of year when the urge for the me-me buys are in full force and they can be hard to resist.

It’s easy to identify the reasons you need to buy something. You lose your phone; your coffeemaker breaks; you’re going to Hawaii and you don’t own a swimsuit. Some would argue that no one really “needs” these things, but that’s totally a different conversation. The want list is special; you’ve identified just the right thing and will wait until you find it–the not-too-bulky warm coat WITH a hood; the black leather shoes with the right heel, non-slip sole and non-matronly look; the sofa in the right shade of beige that repels pet hair and doesn’t require you to take on a second mortgage. What you want is specific, so you’ll wait until you find it.

Then there’s the me-me category. The things you buy that scream “ME”.  They’re impulse buys; things you buy for yourself because you deserve them; things you buy because  they make you feel better; things you buy  just because life sucks today.  The me-me buys are all well and good as long as you can afford them. And even if you can afford them, it’s not such a bad idea to stop and ask yourself just how long the feel good lasts. Me-me buys can definitely perk up your spirits. They feel really terrific when you bring them home or find them sitting outside your door after a long day.

Nothing wrong with a little feel good–just don’t neglect looking inward when you feel like the me-me buys could be getting out of control. Maybe something else in your life needs attention beyond where to park at the mall or when the auction ends on ebay. Too much me-me buying could just be telling you that something in your life just isn’t working right now. Pay attention to that little voice inside; it knows you better than anyone else.

Okay, grab the scissors and get wrappin’ or get close out that shopping cart and get back to work!

The Retirement Style Blog routinely discusses a variety of retirement transition issues. For a full framework of retirement resources, please visit our Retirement Success Series. To speak with a certified retirement coach about your personal needs, please contact us.


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