This is part of a guest-post swap with Julia from Bargain Babe. P After you are done reading, be sure to head on over to her site to see
I wrote for her! The Bargain Babe, aka Julia Scott, writes about saving money on everyday expenses at. P In the two years she has been blogging about personal finance, she has become a real cheapskate. P Here is her post about unnecessary spending. I just finished a whole carton of Neapolitan ice cream on my own. P It took me a few days, but that s beside the point:P I am powerless when it comes to saying no to ice cream. I am not alone. But for many people, the problem is not ice cream, but spending. P Some 44 percent of Americans carry revolving credit card debt, according to a by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. P A spokeswoman at the Foundation named Gail Cunningham helped me understand why can t we say no to spending. We focus on instant gratification. I know the ice cream is going to slow me down on my next run, but I m so fixated on the pleasure I derive during the four minutes it takes me to scarf down a bowl that I tell myself I ll do 100 crunches later to make it up. P I m still waiting for later. Spending is a lot more fun than saving, Gail pointed out. We think the buyer s high will last. Unfortunately, a few hours or days after bringing home a new pair of shoes or electronic toy, reality sinks in. P A bill is coming. Spending is a habit. Ever try to break one?
P It s haaaard. We treat shopping as a recreational activity and put little thought into spending, Gail said. Culturally we re taught we need more and more stuff, the latest product, this season s in pair of shoes. When I was chatting with Gail I didn t tell her about my ice cream problem. P But savvy lady that Gail is, she picked right up on it. When you go on a diet, let s call it a debt diet, don t go to the mall, Gail said. Put temptation behind you. Leave your credit cards at home. Freeze your cards in a block of ice. If really need that item, let the ice melt naturally. P Using the microwave is cheating! If not through ice, create time to catch your breathe and evaluate your purchases. Enforce a 30-day waiting period for big ticket items. Track your spending. Not very fun, but very savvy. P Put your spending in writing and let it stare you in the eyes. Take charge of your money. Instead of letting your spending habit take over, spend and save with purpose. P Chose concrete items, like a summer vacation or your daughter s prom dress, that you are putting your money toward. Use cash, Gail said. P Many people spend less if they use cash instead of credit cards. How do you control your spending? P Have any of these ideas worked for you? P Join in on the discussion by leaving a comment! Julia Scott is a cheapskate by nature and a journalist by training. P If you enjoyed this article please consider!
P In addition, don t forget to visit my guest-post, on her blog! Here s something I ve done frequently. I go to the grocery store for one item, and I come back with five. Or, I go to the mall to replace something that has ripped or fallen apart, and I come back with a few new pieces of clothing. Or maybe I m orderingВ something online, and free shipping makes spending $50 seem like a good idea. Why do I do this? Well, mostly because I give myself reasons to. And Amazon doesn t mind! Lately, I ve been avoiding shopping. My weakness is Whole Foods, where I can t seem to stop purchasing new spices, dried goods, bulk items like nuts and seeds and beans, and random bits of produce. None of this stuff really goes to waste, but I should be able to walk into a store and walk out with only what I planned to purchase. Right? So, I thought about the reasons that I give myself whenever I end up buying more than I planned (or budgeted) for. And now, every time I hear myself stating these reasons, I ll pause and think twice. 7 Reasons We Buy Things We Don t Need 1) It s such a good deal. Whether it s 50% off sale or free samples with a $40 purchase, these types of things can be so tempting. Somehow we think we ve tricked companies into giving us free stuff. But it s kind of the opposite companies have trickedВ us into spending more money than we planned. 2) I ll need this eventually. Ah, isn t it fun to buy things for the future?
There are some itemsВ that are inevitable (like toilet paper and salt), but so many things I ve purchased for the future just sit around forever. Use what you have, and when it s gone, replace it. 3) I can always return it. I don t know about you, but I ve not returned very many things in my lifetime. Don t count on yourself going back to the mall to return something it ll just give you another reason to shop more. 4) I don t have anything quite like this. Whether it s a new color or a new brand, I ve often told myself that I need to add an item to my collection of items yes,В collection. В So obviously I already have several of these items and I probably don t need another oneВ (e. g. , lipsticks, sweaters, purses, colorful pens, etc. ). 5) This will help me be more like (insert name here). Oh, man. I ve been guilty of this. I see a movie, I watch a show, I open a magazine and there s some perfected image that I suddenly wantВ to imitate. And here s what I ve learned: no product will ever turn me into someone else. And, I probably shouldn t make that my goal anyway. 6) One for her/him, one for me. Ever purchased a gift for someone and decided that you should get one for yourself too? I totally have. Let s commit to true generosity, rather than insistingВ we should get something just because we re getting it for someone else. 7) I DESERVEВ this, and it will make me feel better about (insert problem here).
I m not talking about OTC drugs that TylenolВ will make your headache go away. What I m talking about isВ retail therapy, that little concept that makes us think we can assuage our emotionsВ viaВ consumption. Hint: it doesn t work. I m hoping that as you read these, some of them are resonating. I m hoping it s not just me. So, how do we combat these lies so that we can actually put our resources to good use? How can we avoid the clutter and mess that usually result from these purchases? Think of something worth saving up for. Maybe it s a trip to Yosemite. Or a gift you want to give to someone who matters to you. Maybe it s a slow cooker or a blender you ve been eyeing for ages but can t afford. And every time you want to spend money frivolously, think of that thing. Before heading to the mall or grocery store, tell someone what youВ plan to purchase there. Have them ask you what you ended up purchasing when you come back. IgnoreВ advertisements as much as you can. These pesky little things are designed to make us feel inadequate so that we ll purchase something to fix that feeling. And who wants that? Force yourself to write down 5-10 real, legitimate reasons why you need that item, and show it to someone. If they approve of your reasons and agree with you, thenВ consider it! Do you find yourself buying things you don t need? What are some reasons you give yourself, and how do you hope to avoid them in the future?