We all enjoy nice things. Whether it's the perfect throw pillow to tie a room together, the latest and greatest in kitchen appliances, or a cute accessory, some purchases are hard to pass up. There's nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but if you're fighting back the beast of debt, developing responsible shopping habits could be your saving grace.
Draft a Battle Plan
The easiest way to spend your money wisely is to plan your shopping. Naturally, this means budgeting. Ensure you have your necessities, such as rent and groceries, squared away before buying other things. You don't have to plan how to spend every cent of every paycheck. (Of course, being detailed doesn't hurt.) Just make sure you're prioritizing the right things. Having a written plan that you can reference for your spending can help you stay on track financially.
A Well-Earned Victory
We've all heard it said that something is more meaningful when you've worked hard to earn it. Your indulgences are no different. Occasionally treating yourself to luxury lingerie or deluxe beauty products is one thing, but doing so regularly, with no regard to how much you’re spending, is a potential recipe for financial disaster. If you really want your treats to be special, make sure they're treats!
One way to do this is through the now well-known concept of a "Treat Yourself Day". You know best what the right variation on this concept is for you, but here's a suggestion to get you thinking. Set a goal and a deadline to meet that goal. Maybe you're anticipating the release of a new eyeshadow palette. You make a deal with yourself that, if you can avoid unnecessary purchases until the release date, you'll buy what you want with the money you've saved. Then it becomes a reward for your responsibility, and you receive a sense of pride and accomplishment as a bonus.
Give No Quarter
To desire comfort is human. Again, we all enjoy nice things. We all feel that temptation. The key is to resist it until you can indulge responsibly. You have to be ruthless about this! Try to avoid places you know you're likely to overspend. If you must enter these places, try limiting yourself to cash rather than your card so you don't go overboard.
However, that still leaves online shopping. These days, you can buy everything from bubblegum to cars online without leaving the couch. That's a siren's call none of us can ignore. It's so convenient, but that's what can make it dangerous, too. There's no need to cut it out entirely. Simply try to be conscious of how much you spend and how often. Log out of your accounts when you're done shopping so you have to make the conscious decision to browse goods online. Delete shopping apps from your phone or tablet, or follow the same rule of logging out when you're done. You might also try some of the previously mentioned tactics. Perhaps decide to shop online only on certain days or to impose a limit on your spending beforehand.
What Are You Fighting For
The large goal here, of course, is for us to be more financially responsible and to stay out of debt. Large goals are often intimidating, though, and that intimidation is in turn discouraging. The best way to beat that is to break that large goal into smaller ones. Guess what? If you've been following the rest of this article, you've already been doing that. That's a couple of victories in the bag already!
Here's another: think hard about what you really want. You want nice things - big-ticket items. We all do. Get specific, though. Do you want a designer dress? Perhaps you want a luxury dining experience? Whatever it is you want, however much you want, write it all down. Name your desires. Then sort them into a list. Put what you want the most at the top and work down. Here is your series of small goals. Instead of impulsively buying things you don't really want, save up for what will really make you happy. You'll thank yourself for it.
There is nothing wrong with wanting lovely items. It makes you human. Just remember that you (and your bank account) don't have to be ruled by that. It's a fight we can all win by building responsible habits.