You deserve that cookie, so go ahead and eat it and maybe a couple more for good measure. While you're at it, buy the bedroom set you can't afford but deeply desire.
As a nation, the United States is both plainly fat from eating too much and overstuffed in the materialistic sense. The message from society in general can sometimes be: You work hard, so splurge.
It's very possible to have a house full of stuff and no money. It's also possible to be extremely overweight and ingest no healthful nutrients.
Just like eating food for no good reason other than the fact that it is set in front of you, people buy stuff just to buy it.
"It's so easy when you're in a mall to start buying things on impulse. They're very attractive and all shiny and new -- especially when they're on sale," says Dave Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.
"People will react to a sale item -- 60 percent off -- and buy it when they don't need it or want it."
Big-box stores are vast dens of temptation, offering lots of everything at sale prices.
"People buy huge amounts of stuff and think they're saving money. But what happens is that it just takes up space, takes years to use up or it just spoils," Jones says.