With ever-changing trends and the availability of consumer goods (thank you internet), it can be hard to say no and step away from the Checkout button. It’s ok to splurge every once in awhile – try out that new lipstick trend you’ve been dying to wear or pick up those bold, strappy sandals that nearly brought tears to your eyes – but in order to plan for the future and make sure you’re not struggling through life, a little self-restraint and saying no to Buy Now is in order every once in awhile. It’s not always easy, so follow these tips to help keep your spending in check.
1. Use the shopping cart in your favor - It’s tempting to spend when you see an item here and there that you can’t live without, but when one item turns into many it can break the bank. To avoid a retail overindulgence, place as many of the items as you want in your shopping cart and then look at the total. Set a limit of how much you’re willing to spend and if everything exceeds that limit, step away. This also works when you see the total and are stunned at what everything amounts to – it’s the new version of sticker shock. This tip will feed your online browsing need without leaving you broke come the first of the month.
2. Set aside a spending allowance – Every time you get paid, set a portion aside. Most of your income should go into the savings (even with a part-time job), but if you allot 10% of your checks to a spending allowance you’ll see how quickly your moola adds up. If you’re dying to get your hands on the latest designer bag, set a goal! Promise that you won’t splurge until you’ve accumulated enough to get that bag. You’ll be proud that you responsibly made the purchase. If you change your mind often, you might be over the bag before you purchase it–meaning you can save your cash for something else down the road. (If you’re favorite artist comes to town you won’t want to miss out on tickets!)
3. Avoid using a credit card - A credit card is valuable for building your credit, but it should never be used if you don’t currently have enough money in your bank account to cover a purchase. If you spend more money than you have, it can become a slippery slope that leads to real problems long into adulthood. Always keep track of what is in your bank account, then when deciding to make a purchase, tell yourself that you will pay off the credit card at the end of the month. No exceptions.
4. Reevaluate what’s important to you – One of the best ways to not overspend is to evaluate WHY you actually want an item/meal/experience. Maybe you did something outstanding and want to celebrate? Or maybe you need business attire for an upcoming interview? If you realize that your motive to purchase is because you’re unhappy or want to fit in, think about this… True happiness isn’t about what you have, but rather what you do, the relationships you build, how you treat others and your adventures along the way. If you look around and already see that you own more than you’ll ever need, then maybe you don’t need to spend money at this time after all.
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