A lot of people ask me – how do I stop splurging?
Ever seen Reese’s Peanut Butter cups jump at someone? Sometimes they do that in the checkout line. I think candy bars are spring-loaded to recognize when people are hungry.
Impulse buying (or splurging) is part of our culture. Think about why they call it a convenience store. Think about all the add-ons, upgrades, and Buy 3-Get-1-Free deals you’ve seen lately.
Sometimes we just reach for stuff without thinking about it. I know in the past this would always seem to happen. When I didn’t show up with a grocery list at the store, a box of Wheat Thins disappeared from the store shelf and re-materialized in my grocery cart. It was like a scene from Star Trek.
Now do you suppose a $1.59 box of Wheat Thins is going to destroy someone’s life?
You know already – it won’t.
The problem with splurging
- the $15.99 shirt at Target,
- the $159.99 electro-gadget,
- the $1,599.99 upgraded leather seats,
- and the $15,999 extra bedroom financed over 30 years.
But it’s only an extra $2/month added to the mortgage! And don’t we need an extra bedroom for the one time every three years when my cousins from out of town visit?
(See, I’ve thought that way too).
It’s those things repeated over and over, right? Through the LOST power of compounding, it costs us tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
That’s a lot of freaking money down the drain.
Habits to stop splurging
You’ve heard that you should never shop on an empty stomach. Because people will buy Wheat Thins. But what I want you to remember is this:
Never shop on an empty brain.
You’ll save a lot of money and time by figuring out what to buy before you buy it.
Have a plan for your money, then spend the money based on the plan. That’s using your full brain, which you already know how to do. But sometimes people leave their brains at home. Just like we forget our re-usable shopping bags.
We’re not dialing in our money down to the penny around the Turner household. Some people do and if they need to, great. If you’re like me, you like a little fluff/fun in your life. So leave some margin in your accounts for the occasional splurge or impulse buy. You set aside the money first. Decide later what you want to buy. That gives you the best of both worlds.
It’s more satisfying to have that money first. For the clothes, the nicer restaurant, the vacation upgrade. It’s more better (that’s a technical term) than struggling to pay it off later. Sometimes paying it off for years. Day old pizza is great. Paying for pizza someone bought 3 years ago on a credit card – not so much.
Ten years ago we had the option of adding on an extra bedroom when we built our house. But it wasn’t in the budget, so we didn’t. Do I regret it? No. Katie today, says we should have built it. But we both agree we made the right decision given our situation ten years ago.
- When you have a plan, the impulse will be gone.
- When you have a list, the random purchases stop.
- When you shop with a full brain, you keep more of your hard earned money.
You’ll gain more confidence, clarity, and CASH when you never shop on an empty brain.
Future you (whom you’ve never met, but I know is a pretty cool person) will thank present you.
There will always be another sale, another deal, another house. Trust me on this. The best choice is to ignore the calls for splurging and impulse buys. The Reese’s Peanut Butter cups will be there next time when you plan to buy them.
Spending and saving isn’t so much about sacrifice. It’s about your priorities. What is important to you? If you got the money and want something, buy it.
Make a shopping list. Check it twice. Recognize if what you’re buying is naughty or nice. Toss the naughty stuff off the list for another day, or never-day.
Figure out if there is something better you could use the money for. Never shop with an empty brain, and you will build wealth, have more savings, and more financial security.
Spend a little now or let it grow to spend a lot more later. Most people would pick having, and spending more later.
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