why having money helps you not buy

I’ve just realized a corollary to the Sam Vimes theory of economic injustice. I don’t have a catchy name for it yet, but the gist is that having enough money – and being confident that you will have enough in the foreseeable future – saves you from making unnecessary purchases.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you have three pair of jeans. That seems to you to be about the right number of jeans. And then one day jeans go on sale at a store you sometimes shop at. You feel like you need to buy a pair nownowNOW! Because they’re on sale! And even though all the jeans you have are in perfectly fine shape, some day they will wear out and you will need a new pair, and they may not be on sale then.

Problem is, by the time this happens, you may be a different size. Or you may prefer a different style of jeans, or you may have decided to wear exclusively kilts. Even if none of these things is true, you have had to store the extra pair of jeans all that time, and they’ve been cluttering up your closet. (Also, there’s the fact that you could have been earning interest on the money tied up in those jeans, but I think we can assume the interest on the price of jeans for 6 months or a year is negligible).

If you are in a state of financial comfort, you don’t have to buy the jeans when they’re on sale. So what if they cost $10 more when you’re ready to buy them? You’ll be able to afford it then – and if you don’t buy them or if you decide to buy a different version, then you’ve saved yourself from buying something you can’t use or no longer like.

(This post derives from me trying to persuade myself not to buy a gray sweater to replace the one that has just developed a hole. Not only do I have plenty of sweaters, I actually already have multiple gray sweaters, even though all the others are heavier, lighter, longer or differently styled than this one. If I decide I can no longer live without a dark gray merino pullover, I can do something about it at that time.)

Why, yes, I did just spend (pause to count) four paragraphs explaining that not having enough money leads to making decisions based on anxiety. In other news, water is wet – and falls from the sky in Oregon for 8 months of the year.

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