People work hard because they want to earn the right to live the life they want, even if it means spending on things that are useless to them. A person, who may have no control over some areas of his life, may find it extremely satisfying to at least have control over the money he has earned. To have the power to acquire things that normally poses a challenge can be quite addicting, especially when emotions are involved. People, after all, are insatiable beings; it is only right to reap what they sow. Most people think that this is a reasonable excuse; that is until they check their financial stability.
It is common for people to support this concept, that there is nothing wrong with spending on stuff that they don’t even use because they are simply doing what they want and that they’ve worked hard to deserve it. But when their financial struggles begin to put a strain on their lives, they always question their initial actions. In an attempt to justify their spending, they sell themselves to their pleasures; convince themselves that it was well deserved. This belief gets them into debt, and they become slaves of their own desires.
While it’s important that you can be the person you want to be and be able to do the things that you enjoy in life, you need to take the time to figure out what genuinely makes you happy; the things that you truly enjoy doing. Is it the material things that you purchase that make you happy? Or is it the sense of accomplishment that comes with every buy?
It’s alright to do what you want to do and spend on things that you need and want, but if it goes to the point of plunging into debt because of spending on things you don’t even use, it’s another story. You need to challenge yourself and try things that can still allow you to do the things you want to do without going broke. Here are a few tips:
Pay your dues before you shop
The moment you receive your funds, divide it immediately to pay all your financial obligations first. Whatever is left of the money will go to your shopping budget. This will avoid circumstances wherein most of your money is already spent, and you still have bills to pay. Stretching a budget for shopping is easier than producing the money that you lack for your financial dues.
Know what you want and what you already have
Take some time to create a list of the things you seriously want and the reason for it; it’s an integral part of breaking the habit of compulsive shopping. Go over the list and look at the things which you may already have, or something similar to it. If you already have six watches, do you actually need one more? If you already have a working mobile phone, do you really need to buy a new one? Will it make your life much easier? cooler? better? By the time you are done checking your list, you may be discouraged to go shopping for more things you do not need.
Delay your desires
If you want to buy something, ask the store personnel, if you can have the item reserved for a day. It will give you enough time to think the purchase through, because sometimes when you see something that is presented so well, you think that you want it when you actually don’t. By holding out on the item or just leaving it until the following day, you might decide it isn’t something you really want after all. If you think that you can always return it, the fact is, most people who spend sporadically almost always fail to return anything they purchase.
Avoid shopping when emotionally disturbed
People buy on their emotions; it is a common knowledge to all marketers and they use it to their advantage in every way they can. When you are sad or bored, you tend to compensate the feeling of joy or excitement by buying something. It resonates the feeling of bringing something new into your life in hopes of bringing along some changes for the better. It makes you feel like you have power and control over your life, when in reality, you are coping. Instead, divert your attention into something more positive and self-indulgent such as taking meditating, reading a good book, watching a feel-good-movie, or talking to a friend. Learn and try new things that can be beneficial to you.
Choose who you shop with
If you go with someone who has a problem with spending, you are more likely to develop the same careless spending habits. Shopping with someone who is frugal will encourage you to follow the same.
Filter your shopping coupons
When you are clipping shopping coupons, make sure to only keep those which have items that you regularly use. Having too many coupons will only tempt you into buying more things you don’t actually need because of a certain degree of pressure to use all coupons. It’s a false sense of frugality because it makes you feel like you are saving, when in truth, you are indirectly forced to buy things that you don’t need or want.
Use cash whenever you can
Bring cash as much as possible rather than your credit card when you shop so you are limited by the amount of what you are carrying. If you have a need for credit cards, make sure that you have the lowest maximum limit.
Stop browsing and start buying!
It is important to always have a list of the things that you need to buy. Once inside the stores, avoid browsing around or window shopping for things that you think you might need. Stay focused on your list because they are the only things you need. Don’t get side-tracked into the beauty supplies section if you only have a list of food items. Keep your eye on the target, that is, the items you actually came for, and leave.
Ally is part of the team that manages Home Loan Finder, a free home equity loan and home loan interest rates service in Australia. Before joining HLF, she was a Media Planner with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.