Black Friday is a perfect example of consumerism at its worst. If you are eagerly waiting for Black Friday to buy something you really need at a discount, then you are probably fine, safe and sound. However, if you can’t wait for this day and you don’t even know what you will end up buying, then, my friend, you are in trouble. You are getting sucked into consumerism. But no worries, I’ll drag you out just like I dragged out myself. I’m going to explain why you waste money. Then you will learn how to save money for big purchases without struggle.
Reasons why you spend too much
- You can’t resist an instant reward instead of pursuing bigger yet blurred (because they are in distant future) long-term goals;
- You want to seem better than you are (in this particular case, you want to seem rich);
- You are living up to the expectations of the society ignoring you own desires;
- You are easily influenced.
Now let’s take a close look at each of the reasons.
1.You can’t resist an instant reward
You know you want to save for a new car (let it be a metaphor for your long-term goal whatever it might be) but you keep buying super trendy clothes from fast fashion retail chains (which means that they won’t even be in fashion very soon)? Or you can’t resist a cup of coffee and a piece of cake at your favorite café every day? You want everything at once? But then you realize that you can’t afford buying everything you want and buy a new car. Will you feel sad and disappointed if you decide to stop buying anything before you buy that car? Is it because you like the act of buying (feeling that you can afford it) or because you won’t be able to buy a new pair of jeans and your old pair looks too shabby?
I don’t know the answer. You are the only person who knows everything about yourself. Even if you think that you don’t, you know it. Sometimes you just don’t want to confess that you know it. Ask yourself all these questions. Maybe you’ll come up with more questions to better understand your shopping behavior. Understanding your motives is the key to fixing the problem.
What I surely know is that you will not rise above mediocrity if you keep spending on small and unnecessary things instead of pursuing your big long-term goals. If you stop spending so much, maybe the goals will turn out to be less long-term than you imagined. Read till the end for the tips on how to make a deal with yourself and spend less money.
2.You want to seem better than you are
Who doesn’t want to be rich? And if you’re not rich yet, there’s still “fake it till you make it”, yeah?
While being rich can significantly improve the quality of life, faking being rich can do the opposite. It can put you in a miserable state of being always “not enough”. It seems that everyone is running faster than you and you just can’t make it. Be cautious, depression is waiting around the corner.
If everything you do is done just to surpass others, impress others, win the game of life – you are the only one losing here. You can become rich but you won’t become happy. You can make a lot of money but it will never be enough. Because when you’ve proved everything to your friends and Instagram followers, you’ll find out that there are still millions of people as rich as you are now and some even richer. Here’s when a new competition starts. Are you ready to dedicate your life to competing and eventually becoming the richest person in the graveyard?
Remember, “we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”.
Taking part in this never-ending race you are on the path of losing yourself and your happiness.
3.You are living up to the expectations of the society
I guess no one is going to argue that we are living up to expectations of other people since the moment we are born. There are so many things we don’t even notice that were imposed on us. For example, everyone is supposed to love children and people indifferent to children are considered to be not mature enough to understand that children bring happiness. But the truth is that no child can make you happy if you don’t decide to be happy. And some people just don’t need kids to feel happy. Some girls have never dreamed of a beautiful wedding and it’s okay too. Some people just don’t need a wedding party. And how many times have you heard that humans are a social species? But what about introverts who feel like dying when among people and need several days to recover their energy after that meeting? We are supposed to be social, to love children, to dream of a wedding, to desire an iPhone, to enjoy travelling, to live our life according to the plan that’s been there for ages...
This all is a great misconception. You were born free, so you can do whatever you want (if it’s legal). The world is going crazy because of a new iPhone but you don’t care about phones? Buy a cheaper one. You are not obliged to fit in. Choose what is best for you. The same goes for fashion. You don’t have to follow it. You don’t have to do nails or make up. There are so many things you don’t have to do. Ask yourself what you really don’t care about but keep paying for because you are supposed to?
4.You are easily influenced
Have you ever purchased anything advertised by a popular influencer on Instagram just because you had seen it advertised there? Have you ever opted for something that you had seen advertised instead of buying something that you were not familiar with? Have you ever struggled to say NO to a salesperson trying to convince you to buy something you didn’t actually like or need? Have you ever changed your opinion about a product or a service after a dialogue with a representative of that company? If so, was it because you had been wrong about it or because you were influenced by this person? If you are honest with yourself, it’s easy to find out whether you can be influenced too easily.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against advertisement or changing your opinion over time. I am against being influenced and unable to resist when you don’t want to buy something, when it is absolutely unnecessary for you, when you can’t afford it, or when it’s more expensive than you expected.
Sometimes it’s hard to say NO to a salesperson when you know that the price is high for you or you don’t like the thing 100%. You may feel awkward because the salesperson is being so nice and helpful and you can’t leave without buying at least something. Well, this is just how it works. The salesperson is being super nice to make you buy at least something. But you don’t have to feel sorry when you don’t want to buy something whatever the reason is. You can spend your money the way you want.
How to spend less money and save more
1.Get rid of trash in your wardrobe
Get everything out of your wardrobe. Get rid of the stuff you haven’t worn for years and you are 100% sure you will never wear it again because of its poor condition. Don’t get rid of stuff that is not into fashion anymore and stuff you are not sure about. It will probably come into fashion again and you will look at it with fresh eyes. Don’t get rid of stuff that is one or two sizes smaller or bigger than you are now because you can lose or gain weight in the future. So, just get rid of the stuff that is a 100% NO.
2.Make a list of things you need to buy
Now when you’ve done the first thing, make a list of things you need (not only clothes. If you need a microwave, put it on the list). Set a budget you are unwilling to surpass. Be very precise. It may be a new pair of mom-fit black jeans. The new purchase must match the clothes you already own. The new thing must not be a problem, so choose the right one from the very beginning even if it costs more than a similar thing and a little more than your budget. For example, you need a humidifier and there are 2 options that you like. The first one is cheaper but the second one has more positive reviews and is more convenient in use but costs a little bit more. Don’t be too tight-fisted when it comes to quality and convenience or your comfort. Sometimes extra $10 spent on a thing of higher quality can save you $100 in total (as you won’t have to buy a replacement for the poor quality thing). Also, don’t be tight-fisted when it comes to your health. Health is your chief asset.
Another tip is to split the things on your list into 2 categories: urgent purchases and not so urgent ones. Buy the urgent ones as soon as you find them and look for the less urgent stuff when there’re sales.
3.Follow your list but always put quality first
Now when you have a list of necessary things, follow it strictly. Don’t go to clothing stores just to walk and look what they can offer. Go there only if you are determined to find something from your list. Choose the best option. If it’s slightly different from what you imagined but you are satisfied with it, go for it. Remember to keep in mind that the new thing should not cause any problems: it should match the clothes you own and be of good quality.
4.Determine your priorities
You need to understand what brings you most joy and whether this joy is worth your big long-term goals. It’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. For example, you may not feel any joy visiting restaurants and cafes but you still visit them often because your friends do so or because it is considered to be a norm. Think what else you can easily do without. Also think about everything you can’t do without because it brings you joy. How much money do you spend on these things? Is it too much or is it moderate? Then think about your long-term goals. Does thinking about them bring you joy? If so, can you sacrifice the little things sometimes for the big things? You are the only person who knows what’s best for you and what your priorities are. Always keep your priorities in mind.
5.Work on your confidence
If you increase your confidence, you will not have the urge to impress other people. Be yourself. You are going through life at your own pace. As Eric Butterworth once said: “Don’t go through life, grow through life.” So, you are not just going, you are growing. Don’t underestimate that. If you keep developing, you will have everything you’ve dreamed of without the need to fake it or impress your acquaintances. Don’t look up to anyone, find your own path and follow it.
6.Develop critical thinking
Always analyze the value of a product and its price. Maybe it’s that expensive only because the management of the company had to pay bloggers to advertise the product and increase sales? Don’t let them make you buy something that’s not worth your money. Stay rational. It’s better not to purchase something when you are too excited about it. Take your time and think twice. Do you really need this thing? Will it bring you joy? Can you afford it? Can you still afford it keeping in mind you have your bigger long-term goal? Will this thing cause no problems? Analyze before spending money. Don’t be an impulsive buyer.
7.Learn to say NO to yourself
If you can’t say NO to a salesperson, at least you can say NO to yourself. Imagine a situation: a salesperson is trying to sell you any perfume in their store. But you came there just to get familiar with several perfumes and maybe buy one of them later. However, the salesperson is so nice and you feel uncomfortable because you know that you are not going to buy anything. This feeling makes you start thinking about buying at least something. Something you didn’t intend to buy. Say NO to yourself like to a child. Say “I am going to stick to my plan anyway.” Tell the salesperson that you need some time to think, walk out of the store and go home. Feeling guilty? The salesperson probably won’t even remember you in the end of the day, so don’t be. Don’t return to this situation in your mind. Don’t overthink.
Now that you know how to deal with yourself when you’re craving buying new stuff, I am sure you can save lots of money, start a business, buy a beautiful house or a new car or whatever your long-term goal is. I believe in you. If you make a decision and put in enough effort, nothing is impossible.
Interested in money management and financial freedom? Read about common financial mistakes people make that will never let them achieve financial freedom and live their dream life.
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