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Monday, April 26, 2010

Managing Money Monday

How To Keep From Impulse or Emotionally Spending:

Have you ever went into a store and there was this great deal on something that either you really like, but is pushing your budget, or that you probably wouldn't have put on your top 5 things you want but it's 90% off so not it's only $25. Sometimes I get caught up in the sale, sometimes there is a outfit that is sooo cute or a new purse that I really like a lot. Or even worse: a really cute pair of shoes! In my life at this time impulse shopping or emotionally shopping is not within my budget. We are experiencing a major change in our income in the last two years and the outlook doesn't appear it will be changing for a few more until our economoy bounces back. With this being said, I try to follow the five day or thirty day rule when making purchases that weren't planned for or that are stretching the budget. This is especially true for high ticket items. So here are the rules that help me.

The Five Day Rule: When I am tempted to make an impulse or emotional purchase on something that I wasn't searching for, is full price, or is pushing my budget in any way I step back. I walk away from the item for five days. If after five days I still can't get it out of my mind, and I can manage to buy it without it busting my budget, or sacrificing something else that shouldn't be sacrificied (like putting away emergency fund money, or making a payment on something we owe) I go back to take another look. If when I go it is still available then I allow myself the purchase. Again, this is IF I am not sacrificing something I shouldn't.

An example of this is a book I wanted. It was full price, just out and $19.99. In my world, that is a lot to spend on an item. I love to read, love to veg out in the tub with a great book and escape for a while from the stress of life. To me, a book is like therapy. I prefer fiction and mystery / murder mystery types. I really wanted the book and heard it was great. There were only two on the shelf. I had the cash. I walked away. About 4 days later was our neighborhood yard sale. I still had the $20. I realized when at the sale I could purchase 5 used books (that the person could tell me was worth the money to read, that could be with me in the tub with no worry of it getting a little wet, that I wouldn't feel guilty about turning down the page to save my place) and still have $10 left. I bought the used books. I realized that the new book would eventually be in paperback or even better in someone's yard sale within the year.
There certainly have been time that when 5 days passed, I still had my heart set on it and bought it. There have also been times that when 5 days passed I still had my heart set on it, and it was sold out. I figure that is God doing for Me what I couldn't .... saying No to item I truly didn't need!

The Thirty Day Rule: I use this rule for major purchases, such as any type of new furniture, appliances (unless of course I am buying something because my is dead), and just about anything that is over $200. I am not talking about repairs or things that we can't go without. I am talking about when you have a coach, it works, maybe not the best, but it would be fine to use longer. If I see a coach that is oh so cute and would fit perfect with our decoration, I don't just fork over the money and that is that. If I haven't saved the money for that specific item, and that was not the reason I was saving the money, then I need to be very very very careful when making a larger purchase. If I have 3/4 the cash for a coach, and see the one I love, well... I only have 3/4 the money. I walk away. If 30 days later it is still there, and I can manage to swing the other 1/4 without not paying a bill or taking money from something that we need with that money, then I go for it. I rearrange my budget that can be and make up the difference. I am especially careful not to purchase items that are brand new on the market. I know all to well with electronics if I just wait a few year, the price will be much much more reasonable. If a furniture store just got a new living room set, chances are they will still be selling the same set in a few months when I have the money to pay in full.

I know in a society where what you have can resprensent to others who you are, but I CAN NOT forfeit my families well being and future for instant gratification now, espeically to keep up with the Jones's.

What rules do you have to help you from impulse or emotional shopping?

- Kathleen

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