Why Do We Buy Expensive $hit?

Money and emotions are in much closer ties than most people realize

Expensive, luxury, indulgence, class, value, exclusive.

They’re the adjectives that get thrown around in advertising across the world. Yes, a friendly (but important) reminder that "expensive" is merely a describing word.

You’re made to believe that if you choose cheap over quality, you aren’t getting the best product or that you couldn’t possibly be as financially secure as someone who bought the latter.

Somewhere along the line, society felt it was necessary to prove their worth by buying something expensive.

It’s like someone walking into the liquor store, seeing that $400 bottle of wine untouched upon the top shelf and thinking to themselves, “I’ll look so accomplished if I buy that wine. People will respect me if I uncork this at the next dinner party I throw. That wine will make me happy.

And the rest of us thinking, “$400 for a bottle of wine? What is it made from? Solid gold grapes?

How we think about “cost”

The psychology of things is quite humorous in this sense. You see, many of us believe that if we own the product or item that we’ve been eyeing, we will become happy. However, according to research on people who consider themselves “materialists”, thinking about buying those items provide more happiness than actually owning those items. So, where does it stop?

If you buy something expensive, you appreciate it more, you value it more, and you take better care of the item.

We buy expensive $hit because it’s rare. Not everyone can have that $400 bottle of wine, just like the (good) old days when most people couldn't afford pineapple or plane tickets (no seriously, pineapples used to cost 5000 euros LOL).

Among the many reasons we feel it is necessary to splurge on everyday items, quite a few stand out to me as reasons I used to feel I was making the right decisions while shopping.

  • Trying to improve your self esteem

  • Finding a sense of accomplishment

  • Feeling a sense of belonging

  • To gain acceptance

Money and emotions are in much closer ties than most people realize. We buy based on feelings rather than rational thoughts.

Create your own value

We treat items as a “guide to what matters” based on the cost of materials and transport. If something is more expensive, we automatically assume it is that way for a certain reason.

Even though we may not desire or love that item, we convince ourselves that we do and that the price is fair.

It’s time we try to appreciate things that have value to us. Meaning, if your shoes from Walmart provide you with everything you need, then the Lacoste shoes you thought were special based on current trends become insignificant.

Retraining your mind to be aware of things that actually make you happy, as opposed to what you’re convinced will make you happy is something not many would consider.

Would buying a million-dollar home or six-figure vehicle actually provide you with happiness? Or are those things only appealing to you based on their price point and public image?

I’ve written a lot about how people feel it’s necessary to look a certain way to friends and family, or it’s important to be able to afford certain things to feel accomplished.

To which it always comes down to the same few words of advice:

Buying expensive $hit doesn’t make you better than someone else, more accomplished than someone else, or more fulfilled than someone else.

We all value different things in life. How we spend our money is based on those values, and finding the things that truly provide happiness within our financial goals.

So… why do you buy expensive $hit? Because honestly, I’m asking myself that very same question.