Shopping is an activity that I find extremely therapeutic. It feels good to walk into a mall and see many stores with hundreds of outfits, shoes and accessories just waiting for me. I absolutely love the smell of the fragrance stores – their tempting scents seem to float through the air entice me to come inside. Store ads appear a bit bigger with words and phrases like “Sale” and “Buy One Get One Half Off”. As I walk past each store I sigh and say, “So many choices, so little money.”
When your disposable income is allocated to your critical needs, it is hard to ignore the urges for a particular item. They always appear when you are trying to persuade yourself not to buy something and are determined to sway you to make a purchase. “Girl, you know that you would look great in that!” or “ Wow! A new fragrance? You need that for your dwindling collection!” “Look at those shoes. You know the outfit to match is in the store next door!” Yup. Those feelings.
If you have a credit card, it’s even harder to ignore those feelings. You entire shopping experience can be warped because you have this credit card with a huge limit, which means that you can buy anything that you want right now. The new fragrance, the shoes and the matching outfit are all within easy reach because of your credit card.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, we have to take a quick step backwards and do some quick calculations. Before you make those purchases consider this for a minute. Will you have the money to pay off these purchases when the bill comes? What are you sacrificing to make that purchase?
For me, the trick is to prioritize my needs. To prioritize, you should make a note of important goals. Some popular goals include saving for retirement, saving for education, paying off debt (e.g. loans and mortgages) or even saving money for something that you want. This exercise is based on the definition of your needs and wants. Needs are critical to your survival and should always come before your wants.
Something else to note when prioritizing your goals is to be realistic. Take a look at all of your responsibilities and be honest about your limitations. Allow some flexibility because each month or period will be different.
Of course I love to shop, but if I know that the money that I’m willing to shop with is already budgeted for something else, I will not spend it. I will admit that it’s not at all easy, but at the end of the day, my needs will be met. And if there is something that I really want to buy, I can easily save towards it.
Note from Me: I am currently on a beach in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas enjoying the sun, the surf and the sounds of my favorite band. I hope you enjoyed this post, after you leave your amazingly thought-provoking comments here, be sure to check out Dannielle’s site at Odd Cents.
Photo Credit: Stephen Cummings on Flickr with adaptations by me courtesy of PicMonkey.
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