The Downside of Immediate Gratification

Sometimes I get a little concerned about myself.  I remember being in university and living off of less than $1000/month – substantially less.  When I purchased a luxury, that’s what it was – a luxury.  In those days luxuries included clothing, shoes, cosmetics… pretty much anything that went beyond the necessities.

I recall when I left university and was working full time.  This is when I bought my car.  The car I bought was worth almost an entire year’s salary from the job I had at that time.  I was living on a budget and was sacrificing hard to get that car.  I was incredibly proud of myself.

These days the picture has shifted.  I’m making real money, a fact about which I’m incredibly thankful.  It’s given me tons of freedom to travel and purchase luxuries that I couldn’t have even dreamed of being able to own less than five years ago.  This is great.  Please don’t think that I’m not happy about this, because I do know how well life is treating me.

Here’s the part I’m concerned about though.  I’ve lost that sense of pride and accomplishment that I used to get upon purchasing the luxuries and treats I worked so hard for when times were tougher.  Last weekend I bought a $900 camera lens… on impulse.  The purchase isn’t entirely frivolous; there are a number of reasons for which it was a well informed and worthwhile purchase.  But I just pulled out my card and bought it, no production, no planning.  I’m happy I can do that, but I miss the days when these kinds of purchases were a big deal.

Basically, I think this boils down to me having to change my budgeting.  I need to be saving more or taking on more responsible financial commitments so that I’m not continuing to immediately gratify myself when I see something I want.  While it’s lovely to be able to do that, I don’t think it’s healthy.  I was appreciating everything more a mere few years ago, and I think that was a much better place to be. 

My upcoming move overseas should facilitate this change.  I am planning to buy my first place and may be forced to take a pay cut to be able to switch careers.  I can’t wait to make these changes.

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