You may not be a shopaholic, but it’s still a good thing to look at your bank statements and see where you are spending your hard-earned money. You work hard to earn your keep, but because you spend on a lot of little but random things, it becomes a cycle — you earn money just so you have something to spend. Things can get even worse if you spend more than what you earn and the cycle involves repayment of debt that never goes away.
What if you can do something to keep your spending to a minimum? If you think it will make you unhappy, you’re wrong.
Why Do You Buy Stuff?
Those little purchases, whether you bought a cup of coffee every morning or you treated yourself to a new lipstick to feel better after a bad day, they add up. They don’t feel significant when you buy them, but if you look at your unnecessary spending over a month or a year, you’ll see an amount that could have sufficiently made a dent on your debt repayments.
The problem is it’s hard to stop spending. We’ve been hard-wired to love shiny new things, and they make us happy — temporarily. Then, that happiness goes away and you feel the need to buy new stuff.
It’s different, of course, when you’re checking waterproof decking options or making important home renovating decisions around the house. Even utility and phone bills draw money off the bank, but they are necessities. What you can do without is that random shopping trip or vacation just because you felt like it.
“Buy Nothing” Day
Barring purchases for home renovations and improvement efforts, you can survive Black Friday madness by treating it as Buy Nothing Day instead. Holidays give rise to that flashy big red SALE sign everywhere, and they have resulted in wallets being emptied just because a deal is too good to pass up.
You weren’t able to save because you bought an unnecessary item with 70% discount; all you did was spend 30% of its price. Instead of being a victim of endless sales, go out with your family, find free activities, and take your mind off shopping. Better yet, stay in, prepare your meals, and catch up on each other’s lives. The result is more fulfilling, as you get quality time with your loved ones. It’s nothing like the temporary high that shopping offers.
Extending it to a Year
If you can buy nothing for a day, you can do it for a year. Now, before you say it’s overwhelming to make such a commitment, know that this doesn’t mean no amount is allowed to leave your account. You still have to pay for bills, groceries, and household maintenance. What you’re doing away with is the impulsive need to chase temporary happiness by buying material things. Ask yourself, “Is this a want or a need?” If it is a want, and you can survive without it, close your wallet and move along.
There are important purchases you will make throughout your lifetime. Then there are also expenses you can eliminate for a year. At the end of that year, you can allocate the money you saved to expenses that will benefit your life in the long term.