‘Stuff’ – things you don’t really need, but find yourself buying anyway.
If buying more and more ‘stuff’ is stopping you from having money available when you really need it, then you need to change what you are doing, in order to get a different result. Instead of filling your house (and your life) with more and more ‘non-money-making possessions’, which actually go down in value over time and send you financially backward, rethink every time you spend.
An Impulse Purchase is a purchase you make on impulse/spur of the moment / on the spot. Something you buy but which you weren’t planning on buying until you saw it. Don’t be impulsive, be conscious of where you spend your money. Don’t be stingy with money – be selective!
Here are several tips that I use to curb spending on ‘stuff’.
Tip # 1: “Do I Really Need It”?
When considering making a purchase, particularly for non-necessity or luxury items (new clothes, home décor, new gadgets or MORE toys for the kids for example), stop and ask yourself “do I really need it?” You may have heard of this tip before, that’s because it’s an ‘oldie but a goodie’ and it works. However, for it to work you need to take a few minutes whilst standing in the shop to really consider the question and your answers. You cannot rush through it otherwise you will talk yourself into making the impulse purchase very quickly. Take the thought a step further and also ask yourself:
Have you gotten along fine so far without the new item?
- Is a similar item that you already have at home still good enough (for now)?
- What will you throw out when you get home in place of the new item?
- Where will the money come from / do you have to take money from elsewhere in your budget to be afford the new item?
- Can you come back for the new item in a week or so? (you probably would have forgotten about it by then unless you really needed it in the first place)
By the time you have this little chat with yourself (just by taking a minute or two to stop and think), the impulse rush or excitement you felt when first considering buying the item usually wears off and instead you will content in not buying and instead saving your money ‘for something even better’.
Tip #2: “Instead Of This, I Would Prefer That”
If you have a particular item in mind that you really would like to buy, keep it in your mind when trying to talk yourself out of making an impulse purchase and buying other ‘stuff’ in place of the item that you really want. The money that you are thinking of spending now, will only take away from that particular item that you really, really want. Regardless of the amount, even if it’s only $10 or $20, that $10 or $20 could go towards the item that you really want. It all adds up. It all ‘buys milk’ as my friend would say. If there is no particular item that you want, nothing ‘better’ to aim towards right now – make it up! Better yet, just keep your options open. You never know what the universe may throw at you in the future. It is just a matter of saving money ‘for something better’ that no doubt will come along.
Tip #3: Shop With A List
Simple and effective. Whether it be a paper list or an online list using your smartphone, if an item is not on your Shopping List, do not put it in your trolley. Tick items off as you move around the shop. Use a list for groceries, but also clothes and other items that you need to buy.
Whilst it’s not fool proof (a treat here and there may still slip into the trolley when our ‘eyes are hungrier than our stomach’) or there may be something which you actually forgot to add to the list, having a list of some sort will still help you to make a conscious decision and acknowledge that you are putting something extra in the trolley, which is not on the list….which at least will help to cut down the ‘extras’ each time you shop!
Tip #4: Don’t Shop Hungry
Ever been grocery shopping whilst hungry? Did you end up buying more groceries than you intended to, or bought things that were not on your list? Starring at all that food on the shelves whilst you are hungry is enough to drive anyone mad and it only makes sense that you end up grabbing extra food from the shelves, because your brain thinks you will be eating that food! I am sure that our brains do not register the fact that you still need to finish your shopping and pay for the item. The ‘desire’ to have an immediate food fix will generally be over by that time. I have definitely noticed that shopping hungry does not work for me. Try it out for yourself.
Tip 5: Don’t live Gucci’, then don’t buy Gucci (living within your means)
A hairdresser I knew had a ‘handbag fetish’ and spent most of her money on handbags. Not just any handbags, but designer handbags. Each visit to the salon, we would talk about all kinds of topics (as you do at the hairdressers) and many times come back to the subject of money. She would complain about her money (lack of) situation and admire that I was ‘so good with money’. She knew I invested my money and love to travel (and that I spent a lot on travel, definitely more than spent on handbags). The hairdresser asked me how she could stop herself buying those luxury items and to have more self-control, so that she could afford other things in life, which she also really wanted (house, new car etc). Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good handbag as much as the next girl, but to buy designer handbags that cost hundreds of dollars (sometimes thousands), if you don’t earn income to match that kind of non-essential luxury spending is crazy and doesn’t make sense. I told the hairdresser:
“If you don’t live Gucci, why buy Gucci.”
What I meant by that was, if her house, car and the suburb she lives in don’t correspond with her walking around with a very, very expensive designer handbag on her arm, then why do it? If she ‘talks the talk’, then she should be able to ‘walk the walk’ and have the income / lifestyle to match. To drive a crappy car, live in a dodgy suburb and live pay to pay without savings and security… but with a fabulous bag on her arm, simply didn’t match the idea behind owning a luxury bag in the first place (ie: status and financial capability).
If those luxury items were holding her back from progressing financially, then she cannot afford them! Simple. It is called living within your means.
To afford luxury items such as designer handbags (or whatever other item or experience it’s that you heart desires), then it’s important to put away a regular amount of savings each pay day and then treat (reward) yourself when you have the money. If not, then leave the bags for now and re-visit them when you have your finances in order. Make a choice as to where you spend your money.