Just Because You CAN, Doesn’t Mean You SHOULD

I stood at the mall, eyeing a pair of sunglasses. My old pair had just broken, and these were awfully cute. The only thing was, these were $159 Ray Bans.

I did a mental calculation on my bank balance, and realized that I could afford them. (And truth be told, I still might get them. We’ll see.)

But I walked out of there without them for a couple of reasons. First, this particular pair wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, since I would have had to have bought the display pair. I wanted a pair that hadn’t been tried on by potentially hundreds of people first.

Second, I realized that just because you CAN afford something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD get it.

Maybe there would be a better use for my money. Maybe my newly-broken pair of sunglasses could be repaired, and I wouldn’t have to replace them at all. Maybe I could find the Ray Ban pair cheaper online somewhere, if I still wanted to get them later.

The point was, I needed to think. It’s all too easy to just think “oh I’ve got the money” — whether it’s for an expensive pair of sunglasses or a meal at a fast food restaurant — without thinking about how spending that money might or might not align with your goals.

It’s not so much about what you’re spending now as it is about how your actions impact your plans. Better to be sure that a purchase or expense is really worth it, and that it fits with your life, before going ahead.