In a world full of credit card offers, financing options, car title loans and other easy access to money (and debt), we’re often encouraged to spend money that we don’t have. In this kind of world gone mad, making smart spending decisions can be more than challenging with so many opportunities to buy now and pay later.
In today’s culture, we’re constantly encouraged to incur debt and spend like there’s no tomorrow. And we largely submit to our spending compulsions because, let’s face it, we want what we want when we want it. It’s simply human nature, but what if we actually took a step back and assessed the true cost of our spending?
We want the fine and fun things in life, but do we really need them? Is it going to help us or hurt us in the long run? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves before going further and further into credit card debt. Here are some smart and easy to follow tips to help you spend more mindfully so you can save money, prioritize your spending, and lower your stress level.
One little trick that will give you some invaluable insight into your spending habits is saving the receipt from every purchase you make and then adding up how much you spent on what at the end of the month. There are plenty of phone apps that can help you accomplish this easily, and they’ll even categorize your purchases for you. Once you are able to see where all your money’s going, you’ll better understand where you can make cuts in your future spending.
The one kind of purchase you are most likely to regret is an impulse buy. It’s always better to wait at least 24 hours before deciding to purchase something that’s not a basic necessity. Putting off purchases will help you decide if the item you want to buy is really worth your hard-earned money.
After some time has passed, you will most likely feel differently about it and change your mind. If you still think you should go out and get it despite the time you’ve taken to think about it, then maybe it’s worth the money after all. Wait, then decide – never spend impulsively.
This is maybe the most important thing to bear in mind before making a purchase. Do you really need it? Is it going to improve your overall quality of life? Is the cost really worth having it? Most of the time, the answer is no, and measuring the cost-to-benefit factor before buying an item will invariably put your wants versus your needs into perspective.
Having a true appreciation for the things you already have is a great way to curtail impulsive purchases, because you won’t feel the need to amass more material items to feel fulfilled. If you are unhappy, buying more stuff isn’t going to help you find the happiness you are seeking.
Material goods are not the path to fulfillment, and you there aren’t enough gizmos and gadgets in the world to fill an emotional void. Take a moment to appreciate everyone who loves and cares about you and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not the things that make you happy, it’s the people you share them with.
Never shy away from talking to friends and family about your spending decisions. They’ll have your best interest in mind and can probably help you determine if something is really worth investing in or not. You can even do your own research online. Whenever you get an outside perspective on a potential purchase, it will help you make a more informed decision.
Take this simple five-step approach to any major purchase you are considering and you’ll be surprised at how much less you buy and how much more is left in your bank account at the end of the month.