Young and Thrifty

In the world we live in there’s always the temptation to buy sham happiness. I try to resist it.

The yogurt we buy doesn’t put on our face the happy smile of the model advertising it. The sports shoes on the billboard don’t make us better runners. And even the latest bestseller from a familiar author may not actually bring us as much satisfaction as the old, mothy, half-read book on the nightstand.

Consumerism doesn’t make people happy, but it creates the illusion of attainable happiness. It has plenty of critics already. Maybe it’s not consumerism itself that’s the problem, but how we choose to spend our money.

When I was a kid I spent all the money they gave me on toys. When I was a teenager, I overspent on clothes and video games. Now I perhaps overspend on good tea, but then I always drink it.

But I’m proud to say that ads leave me indifferent. I don’t care about special offers. When I really need to buy something that could be of use to me, like a reference book or a water filter, I don’t rush to buy it. I compare offers carefully. I enter thrifty mode.

Many of the things we can buy can make our life easier. But happy? Can a book really make us happy? Can a dress? Can an iPhone?

Next time you want to buy something, ask yourself whether you really need it. Will it make you happy, or do you think it will make you happy?

“But I work hard!” you may protest. “I need to spend my money on things to get a sense of accomplishment. What else can I do with money anyway?”

A plane ticket could be a worthy expense. A restaurant meal for two, another. But these are things that we don’t choose to buy. These are things that buy themselves. They choose us. By the time we know what we are up to, we are already packing our bag or heading for the restaurant.

The things that make us happy are things we don’t need to buy — we claim them with all the bold enthusiasm of our hard work and merit.

The things that make us happy are things we don’t need to buy — we claim them with all the bold enthusiasm of our hard work and merit.

The things that make us happy are things we don’t need to buy — we claim them with all the bold enthusiasm of our hard work and merit.

In ages past, people would go to the market when they needed something. Today, the market comes to us online, on our phones, everywhere around us in the street. We need to be careful and discerning. We need to reduce waste.


We need to buy what we need, not what we think will make us happy.

4 thoughts on “Young and Thrifty

  1. Wise words. I’m trying put my money towards experiences, which make you richer, not poorer — such things as travel, and poetry readings. 🙂

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  2. After reading your piece I got US Penny’s ads for a new bathing suit. It’s cold outside so I think I can wait. Plus I’m a grandmother & bathing suits aren’t so exciting anymore. 😁


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