(3 minute read)
You can never get enough of what you don’t really need. –April Benson
Too often we buy stuff on impulse rather than calculated thought. From pressure sales tactics, to clever marketing, to seeing and wanting we all get caught in these traps time and again.
One paramount rule to follow is this, sleep on it. This one simple action will end the bulk of compulsive spending.
For the rest of those items you find yourself still craving after a good night sleep, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need this item? True, we all buy things we don’t need from time to time. I mean did I need the new bedspread I just bought? No, but I bought it anyway. Why, because the one we have is over 10 years old, faded, falling apart, and without beating around the bush, I’m tired of it. Add to this I bought it at a discount in the first place and I was able to reason that even though it wasn’t needed it was a reasonable purchase to make. There are many other items for which I have asked this question and also come to the “no” answer. For these I was unable to provide a strong enough explanation on why I should have it anyway and left it on the shelf. Facing the “need” monster is always a good idea.
- What function will this item serve? Everything you buy should serve some function. Even decorations serve a function provided they are of good quality and are not cluttering.
- Do I have the money to pay for this? This should be an easy one to answer, provided you are living on a budget. Is there enough money left over after your prior commitments and budgeted items to make this purchase?
- Do I have the money to maintain this? Some things need maintenance. It is incredible how easy it is to neglect the law of entropy. The fact that everything heads towards disorganization. In common terms, things break. So often we buy appliances, mowers, trimmers, automobiles, and even houses without considering maintenance costs. If you can’t afford to maintain it, you doubtless shouldn’t have it to start.
- Where will I store it? If your goal is to not have a house crammed wall to wall with stuff it is a good idea to know where you will put an item before bringing it home.
- Do I already have another item to suit this purpose? It is many times worth looking through the things you already have. It is surprising how often you can use what you already have outright, or make something new out of parts and pieces already in your possession.
- Would I be willing to pack this item and move it? If you have ever moved, this one hurts. Being willing to spend the energy and the expense to pack and move it yourself says a lot about the value of this item in your eyes.
- Is there something better I could do with this money? This is a tough one because yes, there is always something better you could do with the money. The question perhaps should be, am I comfortable with my attitude toward this item? Am I purchasing out of a sense of greed or perhaps in an attempt to impress someone else? Is this item in reality just a status symbol with no real purpose? Be clear what your motive is for making this buy. Are you also comfortable with the things you are doing with your money as a whole?
- Does this item help me achieve my desired lifestyle and activities? First you must know what it is you want out of life. Once you have this nailed down you can begin to narrow your purchases to achieve this focus. Avoid purchases that distract by taking your time, energy and money away from your focus.
As a final word to the wise on this topic, remember the less you see the less you want. Limit time in stores, online shopping, and watching TV.
Stop buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have. You’ll be happy you did.
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