Can you control your spending?

I’m just back from holidays in France. The chalet that we were staying in had a charcoal BBQ. I have always been a gas BBQ man and had never used a charcoal one. And given our BBQ at home is broken (left outside uncovered for too long!), I thought this was a good opportunity to see whether our next BBQ would be a charcoal BBQ instead of a gas one (it is, you get a lovely smoky flavour that you just don’t get from a gas BBQ). I have done my research and know what BBQ I want to get. But it is not exactly BBQ weather and we are nearing the end of August, so there won’t be too many opportunities to use it this year. It doesn’t make sense to buy it now but I keep on trying to convince myself that I should. Afterall, I’m going to buy it at some point.

Dopamine Rush

The brain gets pleasure from shopping by the release of dopamine, so we feel good when we buy something. With online shopping, we don’t have to even leave our homes to make a purchase. This reduces the barriers that we have to spending, a few clicks and it’s done. For example, my BBQ was out of stock at all the stockists near me but I found one down the country that had it. Being able to buy it online meant it didn’t matter to me where the stockist was located, I could just click and buy.

Long term impact

The dopamine rush that you get from buying something doesn’t last very long but it can have a big impact on your long term financial well being. All that stuff you have accumulating in your house means less money in savings and investments that you can spend later on. And what is really going to bring you more enjoyment? Having a load of stuff or being able to retire on a comfortable level of income and enjoying loads of experiences with your family?


Steven Barrett

23 August 2021

Update: In between the time of writing this article and me publishing it, my wife bought me the BBQ as a present!