🛍️The Truth on why Your Joy from Spending is Greatest when You can Least Afford it

We like to work for things. That’s how we’re wired. We’ve gotta work for our bread. It’s not handed to us on a silver platter unless of course you’re from the 0.001% – but then again someone, somewhere, had to put in a lil’ bit of work at some point in time! Money doesn’t come from nowhere. And the more we work for something, the more we appreciate it. It makes sense. We put in tons of effort, blood, sweat and tears to get to enjoy the fruits of our labour. The more we work for something the more we’ll enjoy it and the more we’ll appreciate it. 

That’s why when it comes to spending, the very things that give us the greatest joy are the ones that are just that bit out of reach. The one where we need to stretch ourselves to buy and that feels rewarding because we’re pushing ourselves. When you can afford something, it no longer seems as great in your eyes as it once did when it was just that bit out of reach. Things we can afford now seem normal and part of our lifestyle. We quickly forget what it felt like when we couldn’t afford them. 

A close family friend of ours grew up dirt poor. She had 5 siblings and, growing up in Paris, they’d all share the same one coat – just to give you a sense of how tight money was for them. She remembers how her parents would stare in awe at those gorgeous Parisian apartments on some fancy French street I’m afraid I can’t recall!

Fast forward 10-15 years and her parents became fabulously wealthy. So wealthy they could afford to buy the entire apartment block if they wanted to. But she told me when they bought their first property, that was the greatest joy of all. To have something they could finally call their own.

the truth on why the joy of spending is greatest when we can least afford it
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The first one’s always the best 

They had finally done what they never thought they’d be able to. The other properties were all bonuses and they came easily so buying them wasn’t nearly as thrilling as that first one since the first one is always the hardest!

She said the feeling of her parents buying their very first property was 10000X sweeter than them buying their 100th. The feeling of ‘ah, I’ve done it!’ I’ve pushed myself, my boundaries and bought what I never thought I could was amazing and far better than the rest that followed. 

Now her parents can walk into any designer store and indulge in expensive goods to their heart’s content but staring at the Hermes scarf that they couldn’t afford, then working hard to get it felt better than knowing you could buy everything. 

The more we have, the more we need to spend to get that same joy 

We think the more money we have the more joy our purchases will bring but I don’t think that’s true. Our joy of spending gets smaller and smaller as our incomes rise since there’s less sweat, struggle and sacrifice in those buys. They represent a smaller % of our income and so we don’t tend to notice/appreciate them as we once did.

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For me, dining out now at a fancy restaurant is awesome since I know I’m spending that bit more that I should. It seems crazy to splash out >£100 on a meal in one sitting but the joy will taste so much better now than in 10 years’ time when my income would be able to afford that a few times over each month. 

The more money we have, the bigger our purchases need to be to give us that same sense of joy as when we couldn’t afford something back then. Now, splashing out a grand on a fancy vacay seems crazy but with a net worth of £1m it’ll take a lot more than a £1,000 vacay to get that same feeling.

The goal post moves. Whether we like it or not. Now it’s vacations soon it’ll be houses and then jets.

We always want to be at that next stage. If we’re worth £10k, we wanna be worth £100k and then a millionaire is our next stop. But do we really stop and appreciate all the great things that lie in each step?

I remember buying my first iPhone. I spent £600 outright. I thought I was nuts. But it felt so good! Now, spending £600 on a phone is still slightly bonkers but I can afford it. Back then it felt like a huge purchase. But I promise you the joy would be 10X better back then compared to if I had bought it now. 

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You’d be making a huge mistake if you only spent big when you have it big. Spend big when you have it small. You’ll feel amazing. 

Why not blow your entire month’s wages on something crazy? Something you can’t quite afford but technically can?

I’m yet to take this advice but in 10 years time you’ll hopefully be loads better off financially than you are now and you’ll be able to afford whatever it is that’s caught your eye right now except the joy it’ll bring you then will be a fraction of what it will be now.  

Speaking to rich people who started from ground zero tell me they don’t regret their big purchases as they went up the ladder. It motivated them and the enjoyment was massive. 

There’s nothing like buying something you think you can’t quite afford but manage to squeeze it anyway. 

So splash out here and there. And relish every single moment because it will never come back. 

Life’s too short to be frugal till you get rich. Spending while being frugal is the real gem. 

Enjoy it while you work for it. The 2 are not mutually exclusive. 

So go out and treat yourself to something big. Your future self will be happy you did! 

Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment