We live in a world of high power marketing. Technical advances have been rapid and we struggle to keep up with the changes. We are told, covertly or otherwise, that we cannot live without the latest gadget – in fact if we aren’t using all these modern “conveniences”, we are living in the dark ages.
Many technology advances have made life easier with instant access to information and connections. But is it prudent to keep purchasing the latest and most advanced gadget that does everything except bake a cake when you are struggling to make ends meet?
Separate wants from needs.
Put on hold tantalizing wants and shop carefully for what you need. Become a wise consumer. Let the fun stuff go until you have a firm budget in place.
It is critical to take into consideration our future and preparing for unexpected changes. Do I have a savings account established? Do I have an easily accessible reserve account should I need funds quickly? With an uncertain market place, have I updated my resume? Have I adjusted my budget to include rising costs? We not only need prudent spending habits for today, but also how today’s spending habits can affect our future.
In reviewing your spending habits, consider the following:
- Marketing ads make us believe we can’t live without their product. “You will be happy when you have this new car, this new phone, this huge house, etc.” But research and wisdom from the past confirm that “things” don’t make us happy. We quickly habituate to all the things we “have to have” and then need something new to get the same emotional high.
- Don’t shop without a purpose. If you can’t resist that latest technical toy or that dress on sale, stay away from the malls. How many times have you purchased things on the spur of the moment that only end up cluttering your closets and garages? Sometimes we even rent storage units to store all the stuff that we “might” someday need. Take advantage of sales, but purchase for the right reasons. Remember things in and of themselves do not make us happy.
- Cut up or lock up your credit cards. I know – they are the greatest invention on God’s green earth. When spending becomes so easy we no longer think of how we will pay it off, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.Unless you are able to be ruthless in self discipline, leave the credit cards at home and remove some of the easy spending apps on your phone.
- Learn to say “No” to your kids as well as saying “No” to yourself. You are modeling behavior for your them. If you are a compulsive spender, you are teaching them it is okay to spend when you feel like it. When you become a disciplined spender, your kids learn they do not need the latest toy to be happy. You will hear lots of moaning and tantrums about how their lives will be ruined forever, but when you say No to your kids you are teaching them how to live a productive life. Part of raising children is teaching them how to make good decisions and knowing their are always consequences of some kind for their decisions.
- Work together with your spouse on common goals. You will be amazed at how easy it is to have the really important things in life when you work together.
It may be painful at first to analyze your spending habits, but when you begin to reap the benefits you will be energized. And you will find the things you do purchase will have so much more meaning.
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