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The Diderot Effect Could Be Costing You Thousands

Video Transcript

Have you ever bought a new piece of furniture, like a couch for example? You got it home, you got it all situated and then took a look around the room. And it felt like everything else all of a sudden became instantly old and outdated and needed to be replaced.

This experience has a name, and it's called the Diderot Effect, and was named after the famous French philosopher Denis Diderot. The story goes that Diderot lived much of his life in poverty, and one day he received this beautiful red robe. But once he got it home it made all of his other things look pretty bad in comparison. So, he went on a shopping spree, buying all new furniture and art and clothing to match his new level of style and taste that was all kicked off by this fancy robe. And all of this led him into debt, which I'm sure many of us can relate to this situation.

I think we all have this desire for unity. The furniture you have in your house, or the clothing that you have in your closet - all more than likely are similar in quality or style. But if you were to introduce a brand-new item that is either nicer, or more expensive, or completely different in style, it could cause you to feel the need to start replacing and upgrading everything else around it. Which we all know is not a cheap thing to do.

So, to avoid falling into this trap, try buying items that fit into your current lifestyle. If you're buying a new shirt, make sure you already have pants or shoes that will pair with it. If you're buying a new piece of tech, like a phone or a laptop, choose devices that will work with your existing accessories and cables. You want to do whatever you can to help yourself not feel that urge to spend and buy just to create a lifestyle that may have been triggered by one simple purchase.