We’re all guilty of making an impulse buy on something silly and frivolous that we don’t really need. While this is okay every now and then, it can be devastating to your finances if you constantly find yourself splurging on luxury items. Even people like Donald Gayhardt who are now financial experts once had to learn where to draw the line too.
Tally Up the Totals of Your Purchases
Nobody wants to come face-to-face with the amount of money they know they really shouldn’t have spent, but this can be the harsh dose of reality you need. Take a look at all the money you’ve spent on superficial items and lay them out to see what you have to show for it. Seeing the $675 bill and the pair of shoes, incense holder and dog clothes might be a little depressing, but the power of physical evidence is hard to ignore.
Deter Yourself From “Just Browsing”
With an extra fifteen minutes to kill before picking up your son from practice, it can seem harmless to go on Amazon and start looking to pass the time. However innocent your intentions are, this can evolve into a dangerous cycle. You might find something that you’ve convinced yourself that you need and before you know it, you’ve spent $65 plus and additional $5.99 in shipping on a candle holder shaped like an octopus.
Be honest with yourself and break the cycle before it can even begin. Delete the Amazon app from your phone and replace it with something healthier so that the next time you find yourself opening your Prime account, you’ve opened another app instead.
Make a “Want vs Need” List
Prioritizing your spending is the first step in cutting down unneeded spending. Make a list and decide what you consider things that you need in order to survive versus things you can admit that you are only lusting after. Groceries and electricity could be some starters for your “need” list, for example.
Personal honesty is essential here, so if you don’t think you can be disciplined enough to do this on your own, ask a trusted friend or relative to help you. Sometimes the ones closest to us can help talk sense in a way that nobody else can.
Don’t worry — your groans are not going unheard. Budgeting is less fun than spending and doing what you want, but remember that it’s the responsible thing to do. Sure, blowing your whole paycheck over the weekend might be fun in the moment, but what happens when rent and utility bills are due? Budgeting doesn’t mean that your social life is over or that you can never go shopping again, it just helps to limit how much you can spend at one time. And an astonishing thing starts to happen when you learn to budget your money: Your bank account will start to grow too!
Money is hard to make but easy to spend, and spending is so much more fun. But you know how fast your paycheck can be gone, so stop spending it on silly things and handle your finances in a grownup way. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but it pays off in more than one way as the years go by.
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