As I have mentioned before, I gave up extra-curricular shopping for Lent. This has been the most productive spending freeze I’ve ever done. It’s helped me re-evaluate my spending habits.
- Use What You Have – I think one of the biggest pitfalls of the coupon-game and stockpiling is that there is a mentality to buy as much as you can. Yes, you are getting a good deal on all of that stuff. But, is it worth your time? Is it worth the space in your home? And most of all, will you use it? This spending freeze has helped me realize that it’s just not worth it to me. I will continue to check out the Sunday circulars to see if stuff I regularly use is marked down. But no longer will I make a special trip to the drug store to pick up another tube of toothpaste, when I already have ten tubes waiting to be used.
- Give It Time – There is so much that I buy on impulse. At the time, I think it’s something I need, but if I’d only let some time pass I would forget about it. There have been several things that I have come across during this spending freeze that I would have purchased had it not been for the freeze. Instead of purchasing, I pin the item on Pinterest or add it to my shopping cart or wishlist. After a few days have passed, I realize that I don’t really need or want it.
- Make a List – In addition to giving myself time to change my mind, making a list also helps me feel better about purchases. This especially works with books and music. By having a list of items that I would like to purchase, I take the decision making out of a purchase. If it’s on the list, I know it’s something I really want. This works two ways. First of all, it gives me permission to purchase something when I find one of these items at a marked down price. Secondly, it keeps me from purchasing marked-down items that are not on my list. Amazon offers daily deals on Kindle books and has $5 sales on albums. Sometimes it can be very tempting to buy something I don’t really need. By sticking to the list I can avoid that pitfall, yet still shop the sales.
It’s easy to see all of this while I’m still in the middle of the spending freeze. I hope I can make it stick once Easter comes. What are ways you have found to keep your spending in check?