We've all been there. We pass a store window, scroll through Instagram, see an ad, and we feel like life would be better with that thing. And now with the buying power of our thumb and index finger, we can find that item on our phones and have it delivered to our door by the next day. Simple and easy. We want it, we got it.
But unlike influencers and celebrities flush with cash, most of us cannot maintain a lifestyle of buying whatever we want, whenever we want. At some point, the bill comes in and we wonder how we ended up in debt. That's the reality. And it bites.
But what if there was a way to stop those negative spending habits and build a sustainable financial future where we can enjoy life and live within our means?
Here are four questions we can ask ourselves before we click that purchase button or add it to our Target cart.
Ask yourself: Is this a want or a need?
Before you click or swipe, take a moment to breathe and become aware: ”Is this a want or a need?" Only you can decide the answer to that question, but do yourself a favor and be honest.
It may help to brainstorm ahead of time what qualifies as an essential versus what would be really, really nice to have.
Ask yourself: Can I wait?
How many times have you bought something you just had to have only for it to be marked half price a few weeks later? If you have classified the item as a “want," then consider waiting for a sale or save up the cash for a few weeks.
For those items you’ve categorized as ‘wants,’ it may be helpful to create a wishlist. This can also help with prioritizing your ‘wants,’ too. Not to mention that your tastes may change over the course of days to weeks when the next trend comes along.
Ask yourself: Does this align with my values?
Mindlessly following a trend is not healthy for anyone. After awhile in that spending pattern, you might be admired by peers, but you may have lost your sense of self in the process. So take the time to assess whether your purchase is truly what you want for your life or if you are just keeping up with the latest and greatest on Tik Tok.
Also, consider about your broader values. Do you stand for ethically-sourced goods? Do you want to support companies with a favorable carbon footprint? Does the item itself add value to your life? Don’t be afraid to pause and consider the larger ramifications of your purchase.
Ask yourself: Is there room in my budget?
Most people fail at a diet because they don't give themselves room to enjoy a treat once in a while. The same thing can be applied to fighting spending cravings.
Allot an area of your monthly budget specifically for little splurges, like buying those shoes you've wanted. Working these tricks into your spending habits will set you up to have everything you need, savings in the bank, and with some room to splurge. Or we can take another approach: allot one or two splurge items per month to put a cap on your spending habits and to help prioritize your wants.
Remember, the goal is not perfection, but incremental, habitual changes to get you where you want to go.
See how Vimvest can help make saving for small items and big goals part of your daily, weekly, and monthly habits.