Conspicuous consumption is defined to be the expenditure on or consumption of luxuries on a lavish scale in an attempt to enhance one’s prestige. It is a phase that most people go through at one point or another.

I will be the first to admit that I was taken by this behaviour for a good few years. Once I started working and found that I had money left over after expenses, I fell right into buying things I didn’t need. It was mostly clothing. I was compelled to build a wardrobe that I could be proud of. The funny thing is that this desire didn’t really appear until after I had the means to purchase them for myself. As irresponsible as it sounds, I felt a need to spend it, and if I got some nice clothes along the way, it was a win-win.

It has taken me a while, but now I feel myself transitioning out of that mindset. I have become a lot more calculating with what I purchase. Case-in-point, I have had my laptop for almost seven years now and it’s sure is showing its age in day-to-day use. Despite that, I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on buying a new one. The old me would’ve without a second thought. It is because the laptop still works for what I need: email, YouTube, social media. The fan may whirr but it has never failed me yet, in fact, I don’t recall every having any software issues during the lifetime I have had it. Having said that, if I know a purchase will add a good amount of value to my life, I will not hesitate. The most recent example I can recall is purchasing my running watch, and I have no regrets.

The term conspicuous consumption lends itself to a lens of judgement. If we all kept to ourselves, I am sure the phenomenon would disappear, but alas our genetics will not allow that.


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