When I first started working in an office job, I wasted money on fancy things. Here’s how to avoid it.

Written by Victor Correra · Aug 19, 2022 · money,

I used to spend a lot of money on clothes and other stuff, trying to look cool.

I was in my mid twenties. I just went from an internship position to a full-time employee. After I got the promotion, I started to feel like I needed to buy better clothes, so I could “look as cool” as my peers at work. It was the first time I felt like I didn’t belong because of the stuff I owned.

Years after feeling like sh*t, like my clothes were somehow a reflection of my self-worth, I realized that trying to seek external validation from other people is stupid.

Don’t attach your self-worth to your possessions.

If you spend all your life trying to improve your self-worth by buying fancy things, you’ll never find true happiness.

If you try to buy your way through life, so you can feel good about yourself, it’s probable that buying stuff will not get you the same high as it did in the beginning. And you might realize, after years of doing this, that you’ve spent a ton of money on things you don’t really want, or didn’t really need to begin with, to impress people you don’t even give a damn about. But if you realize that you don’t need fancy clothes to be happy, it might save you a ton of time and money, so you can spend on things that actually mean something to you.

These are the things I try to remember, so I don’t fall back into the same trap.

#1. Think about how you feel when you’re wearing expensive clothes.

Showing off to others doesn’t make you happier.

Next time you go to work, try to wear fancy things, and see what happens.

  • Do you feel like you’re on top of the world the entire day?

  • How do you feel when you come back home? Are you still feeling amazing, or do you feel it’s like any other day?

  • Do you feel you need even more expensive stuff? Can’t enjoy what you already have? Remember that this is a zero-sum game. You only win when others have worse things.

#2. Think about the present, and a year from now.

The people you’re trying to impress right now probably won’t matter in the future.

Ask yourself these questions when you feel like impressing people at work with fancy things:

  • Do people really care if I’m wearing this or that famous brand?

  • Am I buying all this stuff because of the people I spend time with?

  • What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t waste money on fancy things I don’t need?

#3. Avoid people that make you feel like sh*t.

It’s easier to not feel like all your possessions are sh*t when you’re not comparing yourself to other people around you.

  • If someone at work makes you feel like you’re beneath them, cut them out. If you can’t, reduce contact to a bare minimum.

  • If you’re trying to focus less on material things, find like-minded people and spend more time with them.

  • Ask your boss to work from home more often. The urge for comparing yourself to others will disappear.

Attaching your self-worth to what you own is the quickest way to feel bad about your life. And the easiest way to avoid that is to not even start.

If you have started, just keep the above in mind, and remember that perfection doesn’t exist. Consistently trying to improve is more important.

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