Breaking the Spending Cycle
I often find myself wanting and purchasing products I don't need and that won't make me happier or my life any more fulfilled. The majority of the time I feel like these products will make me happier or will fill that gap in whatever imaginary hole I've created. The latest of these products is a 20oz Yeti cup. This cup is most certainly not something that I need nor will it make me a better person or any happier or anything else. Not to mention, I already have a 30 oz Yeti cup and it works just fine. There is nothing that the 20oz cup can do that the 30oz cup can't, I just want it. It might feel good when I buy it but then I will just move on to something else I feel like I need and I'll forget all about that Yeti cup except for maybe wishing I'd saved that $30 for something more important. And this cycle repeats over and over and over. If this doesn't sound like a shopping addiction, I don't know what would. We are bred this way in the U.S. I know this isn't something that I alone experience, I know plenty of people that are much worse than I am. I've recently realized my problem, and like they say, that's the first step.
Since this realization, I've tried to be more conscientious about my spending. I still have a long way to go but I'd like to think I'm making the right steps. Before purchasing things I know I don't need I ask myself some important questions:
- Will you actually use this regularly? I know myself, I know what I will actually use and what I won't. If it's an item I want but know won't really get used, the answer is no.
-Will this improve your life in any way or help make life simpler/easier? Maybe you don't need something but it will make your life a little easier. If it's something you know will help you and that you will use regularly, the purchase might be ok.
- Will it make you happier? When we shop, often we think an item will make us happier or fulfill us in some way, but this is rarely the case. If you think it will, think about how and why? If you can't come up with a good reason, you probably don't need to buy it.
- Is this a boredom purchase? Sometimes I find myself perusing the isles of Target for literally no good reason other than I have some extra time and nothing to do with myself. That is most definitely not a good reason to blow money on items that will be forgotten about in a week.
So now to the challenge. If you know you have a problem with spending, try asking yourself the questions above before making purchases that are not necessary to your survival. If you want to take it a step further, you can join me! I've decided that for the month of March I am going to try my damnedest not to purchase anything I don't absolutely NEED. I am going to try to break the cycle. No Yeti cups, no new clothes, no cute on-sale accessories. Food, diapers, and baby wipes and that's about it.
If you struggle, try finding something else to do other than spending money. Volunteer at a local shelter, take a hike, practice meditating, practice a new language. Spend time doing something that actually will be fulfilling. Let me know how it goes in the comments section below or share your tips for avoiding frivolous spending.