Shopping is NOT a Sport

Everywhere we go the world is set up to part us with our money. It may only be a few dollars, maybe a few more, but it’s okay. You want this gadget, article of clothing, candy, tool, whatever. We put it in our cart, we add it to the till, we pull out our wallet. Next thing we know our bank account is smaller than we were expecting and our wallet is thinner while our credit card statement is thicker.

We have all been bitten by the impulse purchase. All of us. If you think you are immune, let me ask you one question: “If I were to go to your home and open up your closets, your cupboards, go into your garage, your tool shed would I find anything that you spent your hard earned money on that you used once or NEVER?” If you can honestly say no, then my hat is off to you. If you are like the vast majority of people (myself included) you would find an item or two.

So the million dollar question is how do we minimize our useless spending. And yes, I did call it useless spending. The fact is if it really was something we wanted or needed it would have been used more than once or never. The reality of life is that we will have some pointless spending. It isn’t a bad thing as long as we keep it in check, but it is a big problem if it gets out of control.

Conquering the frivolous shopping problem breaks down into a few steps or options. The first step is to stop looking at shopping as a sport. Unfortunately too many people resort to “Retail Therapy” to deal with emotional issues. This works as well as alcohol, drugs, or junk food for a lot of people. It doesn’t fix the problem it makes it worse because the high wears of quickly and now we are out money. If going on a shopping spree is your way if dealing with the stresses of life find another outlet. Preferably a healthy one like exercising, going for a walk with a friend, or meditation just as some examples.

The second step / option is to put yourself on a cash budget and allow yourself some play money. That way you can still enjoy a little frivolous spending without breaking your budget. In fact if you plan for it, it isn’t wasted money, just a part of your overall plan for financial success.

The third, and most important, step is to ask yourself this questions every time before you spend money on anything, “Do I really want this?” By slowing down and asking yourself this very simple, but extremely powerful, question you put into motion your biggest ally, your brain. Most of our spending is unconscious. We are creatures of habit that operate on auto pilot. By taking the moment to ask ourselves this all important question we move from unconscious to conscious. A lot of the time we will look at the item and decide no, this isn’t going to give me what I really want. I’d rather save for my Hawaii vacation, or pay off my credit card faster, or stick with my diet (candy and coffee are regular “wasted” purchases) or whatever may be a bigger want for you. If you can honestly say, “yes, I do want this” then go for it without guilt.

No one is taking away your right to choose how you spend your money. But we all make much better long term and short term decisions when the best part of us is fully engaged in making our decisions. Now go out and wake up when it comes to how you are investing your hard earned dollars and cents.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”
Will Smith

Tammy Johnston

Tammy started working in the Financial Services Industry in 1993. The first 9 years of her career were spent working in regional offices, for independent agents, and as Brokerage Manager for two different MGAs. Her focus was on training other agents and helping them solve problems for clients. After spending close to a decade as an employee Tammy decided to venture into the “sales world”. Determined to be more than just another insurance salesman, Tammy founded The Financial Guides. She set about working with clients in a totally different fashion. Feeling that everyone needs a sound financial education she created her first class “Financial Journeys”. The goal was to provide the accurate, unbiased, basic information in simple English that we all require, but can’t easily find. Knowing that the best way to learn is by having fun and being comfortable, Tammy takes good care of her guests with excellent food and lots of laughter. Further expanding her educational and value added offerings Tammy created “Sandwich Safaris”, “Business Builder Nights”, “Small Business Class”, and "FInancial Journeys Summer Camp". Putting time and care into helping with the necessary tasks required to run a successful financial household Tammy works with clients to set up budgets that actually work, reviews credit and debt to make sure it is working for the client and not just against, and makes sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together properly. Knowing that all financial aspects affect one another she looks at the whole picture. Honestly tells you what is working, what could be improved, and what is missing. Tammy’s clients understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and have hope for the future. The newest project by The Finanical Guides is our Childrens' Financial Book Series. To check out the books please go to http://financialfoundationsbooks.com/