Jan 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Lynn
How I try to conquer buying lust and prevent that urge to shop before it empties my wallet.
Domo: Stop spending…STOP SPENDING, I SAY.
When it comes to making purchases, I analyze everything to death before I buy. Here are some simple ways that help me to stay in that savings groove.
I envision how else I could be using that money. If there is any uncertainty surrounding a purchase, I also consider how else I could be utilizing that particular amount of cash. A couple hundred dollars spent on a purse, for example, might translate into an extra month of rent, or investing in a few quality shares of a company, or participating in a relaxing mini-vacation with the family. This is an extremely useful technique to discover what it is I truly value and where I wish to funnel my hard-earned cents.
I try to purchase appreciating investments instead of useless ‘stuff’. Buying a shitload of depreciating ‘stuff’ will only result in making you poor while simultaneously building that product company’s own coffers and riches. I consider investment alternatives which are conducive to building my own wealth and try to be mindful of where my dollars are being sucked away to. Instead of continually purchasing certain products, why not consider buying shares in that particular company’s stock and owning an actual piece of the company?
Buyer’s remorse really blows. In order to avoid repentance and being stuck in a buying situation that I later regret, typically I will wait at least a week before making any large purchases. Believe it or not, more often than not that buying obsession fizzles away…with my savings account balance still in tact.
Pay with cash if necessary. Some of my friends use this method and it really is an excellent psychological boost to curb unnecessary spending, as it is much more painful to hand over a huge wad of cash than to simply swipe the plastic!
“You cannot afford to buy cheap.” If the purchase is useful and can be justified, I always try to invest in quality. One of my favorite sayings is, “You cannot afford to buy cheap.” Buying quality items that will endure helps to save over the long-term, by not needing to continuously replace the cheaper versions. I looove slipping on my ballet flats during the warmer seasons but the soles tend to wear out fairly quickly if I buy too cheap. I would much rather suck it up and invest in a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes that will last through more than one season. Also I get incredibly attached to the few select pieces of clothing and I absolutely hate when they fall apart! Another great example of this is nutrition—investing in quality foods now will save enormously on medical expenses down the road.
I keep a log of big ticket purchases and make a note of how often it is being used, to determine the average cost per wear. The perfect tool to appeal to the OCD weirdo in me. I try to keep a spreadsheet of all of my purchases, to consciously make note of how often items are being put to use. This way I immediately can tell at a glance what has been worth investing in and what is worth simply foregoing.
Visual cues are extremely helpful as reminders. Photographs of certain goals may help dissuade that impulsive urge to shop. Yearning for that trip to Paris? Keep a picture of a cute cafe on the Champs-Élysées on your phone and then pull it out whenever you need to resist an urge to splurge on crap you don’t necessarily need.
I only buy what I truly love. This method has saved me gobs of dough over the years. Now whenever I evaluate a potential purchase, I only buy what I absolutely fall in love with and adore. If for what ever reason it only fits in the ‘like’ category, meh. I don’t need it.
So then I just walk away!
Also it always helps to try to get a grip on the emotional root of certain spending habits. Ask yourself, what do I believe I will achieve by purchasing this item? What is it really satisfying within myself emotionally, and is there a more productive way to reach a similar outcome? You may believe that slipping into those new kitten-heeled shoes will instantly make you feel fabulous (and it may!) but is the product truly the cause? Envision yourself being fabulous even without that item!
Do you fall prey to emotional spending or impulsive buying? How do you handle potential purchases?