The “Why” Filter

The “Why” Filter September 23, 2010

I recently read an article on Dave Ramsey’s website that talked about how we apply filters to money and justify certain purchases and kick ourselves about others. The author, John Acuff, shared a story about a friend who recently purchased an iPhone app for $0.99 – the typical price for an app. She played the game for about six weeks and then stopped.

Interestingly, she wasn’t very satisfied and felt that she wasted a dollar. She just lived through six weeks of entertainment for one dollar and she was disappointed! How many other things do we purchase for a dollar (pop, cheesburger, candy bars) and consume in 20 minutes? Somehow her filter raised her expectations to an unrealistic level.

The filter we usually apply to purchases is the “what” filter. “What” can I buy with this dollar that is seeming to burn a hole in my pocket. The danger of this filter is that we can forget why we’re purchasing something and feel that we just need to buy something. Before you purchase the next one dollar app or one hundred dollar phone, ask yourself “why” and make sure your expectations are in check.

Do you have a realistic view of the satisfaction you’ll receive from your next purchase? I know, I know. That’s easier to type than apply – but the point is this: you’ll be more satisfied with your purchases if you ask “why am I buying this” instead of falling prey to the “what can I buy with this dollar” filter.


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