Before you buy something, think ‘what value will this provide?’
Also think ‘will this be an asset? Will this make me money?’
Most purchases are actually liabilities, not assets. They steal your time and energy, rather than adding to it.
Consider with each purchase, ‘will this help me become a better person?’ That TV may be big and sexy, but will it push you toward that trip you’ve been wanting to take?
Nope. In fact, it pushes you in the opposite direction. That money could have gone toward the trip, and then bam, double-whammy, you also spend time in front of that TV, vegetating. Time that you could have spent building a second income or learning a new skill or reading a book. Not to say there’s anything innately wrong with TV, but it is a very one-way media…you’re much better off investing in forms of entertainment that are interactive and not as numbing.
Think, with each dollar that you spend, whether or not that dollar could go toward something you want more.
Sure, you want a candy bar right at this moment, and you’d probably enjoy it. But wouldn’t you rather have a new computer or camera? I know I would.
Update: December 2, 2016
I would add that, although I focus primarily on monetary assets in this original post, that assets can also grant you knowledge, influence, connections, and many other sorts of valuable things. The point about liabilities going beyond their initial purchase price is a good one: the damage of a bad acquisition extends way beyond the in-store price tag.