To Get Ahead
Learn to recognize the "triggers" placing you in a spending situation.
Maybe you enjoy shopping yard sales, or flea markets. Or perhaps, when you
go to buy milk, other items in the store catch your eye. Whatever the
reason, you are in a situation where you have the option to spend your
money or not.
Learn to recognize the "triggers" in your surroundings that got your
attention and tempted you to buy. Stores often place their merchandise in
a location to attract your attention. Temptations can also be people,
places, things, or even the mood you are in. Do you find yourself spending
more money when you go shopping with a certain friend? Do you spend money
when you are feeling "blue"? Learn to control the environment so you can
shop wisely. Here are some other suggestions that might be
- Avoid exposing yourself to things which will tempt you to spend.
Stay away from the stores except when you have something you absolutely
need to buy. Make a list and stick to it when shopping and then leave
the store. Just browsing can lead to buying.
- Plan your shopping. Go with a purpose in mind. Use that list! Extras
you don't really need can certainly push up the total at the cash
- Limit your number of trips to the store or the mall.
- Don't shop in a weakened condition--by shopping when hungry, tired,
or depressed you may find you will have a tendency to overspend.
Is shopping your hobby? You've probably heard the
saying "born to shop"--- Is that you? Do you think you are a compulsive
shopper? Do you get a "rush" from shopping and afterwards, feel depressed?
If this is the case, you may need some professional help. Or, you should
try to find a substitute for the shopping. Try an active sport, an
exercise class, or maybe volunteer at a nursing home or local hospital.
Find something else besides shopping to make you feel good.
Maybe you can turn your
knack for shopping into a moneymaking project--start a shopping service
for others. Shop for friends or neighbors who don't like to shop or don't
have the time because they work. Perhaps there are some bachelors or
senior citizens who need someone to do grocery shopping or select gifts
for them. Get creative, this might be the job you've always been looking
Before you spend money, think through all of the possible consequences.
Decision making is the process of choosing from among two or more courses
of action for the best way to achieve your financial goals. When spending
temptations try to lure money from your pocket, stop and think before you
decide to buy. Ask yourself "Is this the best use I can make of my money
right now?" "Am I buying to satisfy an impulse?" "Will buying this help or
hurt me reach the goals I have set?"
Before spending your money, think through the decision making process:
- What are my financial goals and my priorities? Will this help me
reach my important goals ?
- What are my alternatives? Should I buy? Do without? Continue to use
what I already have? Make it instead of buying it? Borrow someone
else's? Substitute something less expensive? Rent instead of
- If you do decide to buy, do some comparison
shopping. Comparison shopping is important when making major purchases
and for repeated purchase of relatively inexpensive items.(Ex:small
household appliances) Gather reliable and accurate information. Compare
the alternatives. Make a decision and take action. Then evaluate your
Be patient. Learn to say 'NO.' Once In a store you can't remove the
temptations, so control your response to those temptations. Look now, and
buy later. Look around before you buy. Sleep on your decision overnight.
The item may not be as appealing as you thought and you may decide not to
buy It afterall. Don't be pressured by sales tactics. If an item is in the
store today, chances are it will still be there tomorrow. Give it some
thought. Don't be swayed by a salesman's "line".
Learn To say "NO" to:
- Items that don't rank high on your spending priority list.
- Items that are too expensive for your budget. (Know your
- The salesclerk that says it looks wonderful, when you know it really
- Friends or relatives selling things. Don't buy just because you feel
Retailers spend time and money fiquring out what it is you will buy.
They try to put their products in your mind so you will want to buy them.
It's up to you to control where your money goes. if you don't -- someone
else will be more than happy to take it away from you!
Examine past spending habits to see where changes need to be made. If
your money runs out before your next paycheck, it's time you find out what
kind of spending habits you have. The results of your past actions are
often good motivators for changing your present way of doing things.
Use feedback. Feedback can give you accurate information about your
past behavior. Keep the "Weekly Spending Log" for several weeks. Write
down EVERYTHING you spend. Don't cheat!
You can also take this information and fill it in on a ledger sheet
from a home account book. The ledger sheet simply categorizes different
spending areas. This then allows you to see where your money is going and
provides a way to identify those leaks. You will be able to see patterns
developing. Are you making too many incidental purchases? Too many food
purchases? Excessive trips to the mall? All of these contribute to those
leaks in the budget. By knowing your spending patterns, you will be in a
better position for reaching your financial goals.
Take the time to make some spending rules for you and your family to
follow. Use your budget to guide your spending. Set some spending limits.
Don't spend more than you can afford. Shop with a list. The list will
remind you of the things you need to buy and will serve as a signal to
avoid wasteful spending when you start to purchase items that are not on
Use the incentive plan to help you and your family follow the budget
you have made. Perhaps you can reward yourself for following the shopping
rules. If you have brown-bagged lunch four days at work, treat yourself to
lunch out on Friday. Or if the family has been sticking to the budget and
not spending money on unneeded items, a treat such as a night out or a
trip to the zoo might just be the incentive to keep up the good habit.
Just remember--don't ruin the budget by overspending on the special
Keep credit purchases to a minimum. Think about what credit will cost
and how else you might use that money. Remember, charges usually add to
the cost of the product.
Buy from reliable dealers and make choices which best meet your needs.
Keep all purchase records. If a problem occurs, be sure to register a
Try to reduce waste to help save some money. Excessive use (water,
lights, automobile), abuse or lack of care which leads to expensive
repairs or shortens the service life of a product, or throwing away useful
items are all examples of wasted money.
Substitute your time, talent and resources for
money when possible. Can you make the item yourself? Can you do the
service yourself instead of buying it or hiring someone else to do it for
you? Ex: painting, sewing etc.
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