Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash
For the last few weeks, we have been discussing what are the 3 best things to do with money. We've gone over giving and saving. Now, and yes this is planned to be just before Black Friday, let's discuss spending!
That's right. Here, in this blog, I'm going to tell you it is OK to spend some money. We all have wants and desires for things or experiences that money allows us to buy or partake in. It could be trying a restaurant for the first time, getting a new TV, or even a little essential oil diffuser. Having these desires is normal, and can drive our actions to succeed in order to achieve these desires.
The trick is, though, to be the one in control of your desires and not the other way around. We get so caught up in the feelings of want that we constantly seek out new things. Right after we get the new TV, we decide now that the speakers aren't good enough or the couch is suddenly lumpy. Using these excuses masquerading around as reasons, we start getting ourselves into financial trouble when our desires outgrow our ability to afford them. Spoiler alert, our desires will always outgrow our means.
Have you ever found out you were getting a raise, and by the time it arrived, you had already spent it? Like the Griswolds, did you ever count on an annual bonus check to cover a large purchase you already made? Both of these are signs your desires are driving your financial decisions more than they ought. Let's go over a more healthy way to figure out what to spend on.
First understand your own desires and habits. Take time to reflect on what catches your eye and why it does so. Next, evaluate the purchase regarding what it will do for you in the near and/or far future. Will it gather more dust on a shelf? Will you really appreciate and use it in 3 months? 3 weeks? 3 days? If you don't see a good use for the thing, it probably isn't very wise to buy. Does it fit within your budget? You can plan a budget category for having fun and buying things you fancy. I encourage you to set aside some of your monthly income (depending on your goals) to use for "fun money." You are giving yourself permission to buy when you plan out this spending in your budget.
As you answer these questions, you qualify the purchase for yourself and you start thinking about how it will benefit you instead of just "medicating" that feeling of want momentarily.
Lastly, take the lesson from my first post, shop twice, spend once. Look for a sale, figure out who you can barter with for a lower price. Going out and hunting for the best price can be more thrilling than the prospect of getting it! If you are still interested in the thing after all of this, you can be confident it is a better purchase than if you are impulse buying. Always remember, whatever you want to buy, it should fit within your budget.
As we move into Black Friday 2018, and you brave the crowds in search of the best deals, remember to understand why you are out in the first place. Stick to what you have planned to spend. Don't let yourself get swept up in momentary hysteria if something you see is "almost gone." Enjoy spending your money.
Spend it wisely.
Spend with it a purpose.
Spend it with gratitude.