Archive for the ‘bad habits’ Tag

Fighting the Urge to Spend Part 2

Last post I covered how we can be tempted into spending money while trying to become financially free.  Unfortunately, the urge to spend will still be there even after you have control of your finances (take a look at my sneaker incident).  So what are some ways one can control this urge?  Here are some tips that I have gathered that have worked for me in the past:

  • For the married folks.  Don’t ever let money be an issue between the two of you.  I believe that everyone should have a hand on the household finances even if one is more knowledgeable about it than the other.  A simple yet great tip I found was to always discuss any spending over $100.  That way, at the end of the month there shouldn’t be any surprises when you are reviewing your monthly budget.
  • Use the 24-48 hour rule.  My brother is a tech geek.  He loves anything doing with technology.  Naturally, he loves going to electronics stores and seeing the latest and greatest.  So when the newest thing comes out, he gets that must have feeling.  One of the ways he fights the urge of spending money on gadgets is using the 24-48 hour rule.  If he really gets that feeling that he needs to buy an item, he waits between 24-48 hours and the feeling usually deteriorates.  He understands that what he had was a compulsive buying feeling where the satisfaction is only from buying the item right then and there, and not necessarily because he wants it for the long run.  I find myself using this technique as well.
  • Limit the amount of time in temptation hot spots.  Temptation hot spots are places that you know make you want to spend money more than usual.  For me, any sporting good store or website dealing with sneakers are my temptation hot spots.  Just remember that we are limiting the amount of visits to these places.  I can definitely afford to buy some of the things I want so I sometimes walk into these stores to take a look.  But if I was trying to get out of debt, I would not even look at these places so I wouldn’t loose focus on the bigger picture of being financially free.
  • Have a constant reminder of your goal.  If your goal is to become debt free, why not keep in your wallet or purse a piece of paper with the amount of money you still owe written down.  When you see something you want, look at that paper and say to yourself, “do I need to add to this total?”.  Maybe you are saving for a car or a new home.  Have a picture of that in your refrigerator or with you to remind you about what you are saving for.  Get creative, and look at the bigger picture.
  • It’s okay to treat yourself.  All work and no play can make you dull.  If you save cash, have no debt, and are saving for the future, why not include a category in your budget where you can have some extra cash to buy that thing you like.

We are bombarded constantly by the media with the importance of buying stuff.  Many people become almost obsessed with the idea that the more stuff we have the better we will be.  Remember that these items are not what makes you happy.  Look at that old exercise machine you bought, or that gadget you have only used twice since you bought it.  Has it really made your life any better now?  The urge of buying is more than anything an urge for immediate satisfaction and less of a long term need.  Using the previous techniques can help you, but as always your will is what will carry you to do it.

So what are some spending blunders you had?  How do you fight the urge to spend?  I would love to read the ways you control your spending habits.