If I were a betting man (I’m not a man at all but “betting man” has a better ring to it than “betting person” or “betting woman”) I would bet that most people feel some joy or satisfaction at having accomplished something. That accomplishment might be fixing a car, or preparing a really good meal, or finally getting the house clean, or getting that inbox at work down to empty before the end of the day.
You know what else feels good? Paying for things yourself.
I know I’ve mentioned that it would be really nice for our debt to magically go away. But really, it’s nice to know that we have worked hard and we’ve chipped away at the debt and we’re getting closer to the end — even if it’s more slowly than I’d like.
It’s great to receive gifts. But it’s also really nice to know that we’ve saved up for something and bought it ourselves. It means more, you know? Like our canoe, which we paid cash for. Or the shoes I bought after I had my surgery. Like our aquaponics stuff.
Having something is the reward of the hard work it took to earn the money to get it. The thing is nice, too, but knowing that we worked hard and earned the money to buy the thing — well, that’s pretty great.
That’s why credit isn’t as nice as it seems to be. You don’t do the work ahead of time to buy the things you want — you get the thing you wanted, but you have to work for it afterward, and you’ve forgotten the joy of the thing but you’re still paying it off. But when you’ve spent weeks or months saving up the cash and then make the purchase, you have more joy in the item because you know you’ve earned the thing you just bought and you won’t have payments hanging over your head.
And that’s pretty wonderful.