Let’s be honest. Spending money is FUN. At least in the moment, buying things makes you feel good. Retail therapy, if you will.
But if you’re in debt, it’s time to reel it in.
There have been times in my life when I’ve been a little too liberal with my spending. This 4-step plan can help you get back on track. I was able to pay off my $86,000 mortgage by age 27.
STEP 1: STOP! DELAY GRATIFICATION
The first step is to stop yourself and think about what you’re doing. Some people spend so whimsically, they don’t even know they’re doing it. Let’s say you’re eyeing a new pair of shoes. Don’t take them to the register or put them in your online shopping cart just yet.
STEP 2: ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS
The second step is all about getting organized. Why do you want to buy these shoes? What exactly caught your eye? Did you check the price? Can you afford them?
STEP 3: ASSESS WHETHER IT’S A WANT OR NEED
Step three involves managing wants and needs. In our hypothetical example, are the new shoes a want or a need? This answer depends on the situation. If you already have a similar pair of shoes, it might be a want. If your job requires a specific type of footwear and you don’t have it, that’s a need.
STEP 4: EVALUATE YOUR EMOTIONS
This is the fourth and most important step. I mentioned retail therapy earlier. If you’re shopping to lift your mood, think about some of the other purchases you’ve made. Did they make you happy in the moment? What about long-term? When I’m not having a good day, I avoid shopping and wait until I’m feeling better before I buy anything.
So there you have the four steps to rein in your spending. Just remember SOAE, which is also the acronym for this blog, Save on Almost Everything:
- Stop! Delay gratification
- Organize your thoughts
- Assess whether it’s a want or need
- Evaluate your emotions
Before I wrap up this post, I want to expand on step four. In my professional life, I took a course that discussed emotional bank accounts. Positive actions make DEPOSITS into your emotional bank account. Negative actions make WITHDRAWALS. When you’re feeling the urge to spend, ask yourself whether buying that pair of shoes (or whatever else) will make a DEPOSIT or a WITHDRAWAL into your emotional bank account. Can you make the purchase with no regrets? Let that be your guide.
USEFUL RESOURCE: 7 SIGNS YOU’RE ADDICTED TO SHOPPING