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How Being A Pessimist Saves You Money
Posted By Jim On 08/31/2009 @ 12:37 pm In Frugal Living | 13 Comments
I’m not a pessimist but I know enough of them to know that being a pessimist can save you a lot of money. A pessimist is someone who sees a glass filled halfway with water as being half empty. In a beautiful blue sky, they see the clouds in the distance and ready their umbrella. They see insurance not as a protection against the unknown but as an investment in the future.
As much as society may frown on being such a negative Nancy (sorry in advance to all the Nancy’s out there), I think sometimes being pessimistic can save you money.
Ever spend a lot of money on something only to feel a pang of regret afterwards? That’s buyer’s remorse. You get so excited about all the benefits of something that you don’t recognize some of the drawbacks until it’s too late. The reason this happens is because people see something and amplify the good and don’t consider any of the bads.
Approach is like a pessimist and feel buyer’s remorse before you buy it! Will it really solve all of your problems or make you feel better? If you think about it before you make the purchase, you might get an answer that stops you from buying.
Imagine buying a fancy new convertible. You think about how you could drive with the top down when the weather’s nice, you dream about the image it projects of you, you envision yourself meeting some cute guy or girl through your car. The problem with those three things is that they aren’t an accurate reflection of how you’ll really use it. You certainly could drive with the top down but how temperate is your climate? Could you do it on a drive to work? How often to you leisurely cruise around on weekends? What about when gas is $4 a gallon? As for the image and meeting new people, how often have you met someone or thought highly of someone solely based on the model of their car?
Add a drop of pessimism in there and maybe that mid-life crisis won’t be so expensive.
Approaching it like a pessimist forces you to be an advocate for your purchase and makes you argue against all the negatives. It forces you to confront and address all the bad things about something.
Let’s say you buy a video game system, will you really have the opportunity to play it? Let’s say you get home from work at 6pm, maybe you go to the gym for an hour, you eat dinner for an hour, you spend some time with a significant other or watch your favorite TV show(s), that leaves little time before bedtime for the game so it’s relegated to the weekend. On the weekends, how often will you actually get the play it instead of doing something else? Perhaps more in the winter, less in the summer when the weather’s nice. Does it truly make sense to drop hundreds of dollars on a system now? Maybe it’s better to wait until the weather is colder and save the money. You may not even want a game system then (or a better one will have come out).
Can you think of any ways pessimism can save you money that I missed? If you’re a card carrying member of Pessimists Society I most definitely would want to hear your opinion!
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