Holidays are a time when it is easy for the budget to get out of control. I am often asked how I avoid pitfalls, and clients sometimes wonder if I’m some sort of pod person that’s immune to these sorts of things. I assure you I'm not a pod person, and over the next three weeks, I'll cover different aspects of shopping, and the techniques I use to not blow out the budget. This week, we'll start with impulse purchases. Next week will be all about sales, and the third week will focus on how organizing saves you money.
Let's dive in!
The first step to an uncluttered home is to not allow clutter in in the first place. We do that by watching what we purchase. @@Cutting impulse purchases and avoiding those oh-so-hard-to-resist sales is a big challenge for many people.@@ I'm not totally immune; I just look at it a little differently.
Do I impulse purchase? Hell yeah I do! However, when I do it’s almost always within alignment of what’s important to me. A client of mine and I were on an IKEA pilgrimage. As we strolled through the store, I found their bundle of plastic-ware. I looked it over, thought about how much plastic-ware I needed, then if this set fit my needs and the space I can allot to it.
Then I decided that I needed to liberate it from the store.
Right before I put it in the basket, I got my client’s attention and said, “I want you to take note. I do, in fact, make impulse purchases. This isn’t on my list.” She was beyond happy that I too could lose restraint and veer from my shopping list.
The other time I impulse purchase is when it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time – perhaps some home décor, or a fabulous book I’ve repeatedly heard about, or something else that someone close to me has said I’d love. In these situations, it’s because I run along the item that I’ve been thinking about, and I have the wiggle room in my budget to do it. For example, I recently saw a photo that mentioned using handled baskets to hold electronics. The front is neat and the cords run out the handle in the back. I HATE cord clutter, loved this idea, so added it to my wish list for later on. While at a Target run I remembered this tip, had some wiggle room in the budget, so went to the basket aisle. I found a cute one I liked that would work, and was priced well so I went for it. When I got home and put it all together, it worked beautifully.
How can you apply this to your needs:
First things first - as with anything you really want to do - set some goals. Start by determining:
1) What are your financial goals? For me this is paying off start-up debt, student loans, building a sustainable business, and also enjoying life.
Pro tip: track your spending and credit card balances. There are a variety of ways to do this. My preferences are spreadsheets and Mint. Looking over your finances regularly you can know when it's OK to splurge a little on impulse purchases.
2) What are the qualities of life that are most important to you? Your core values. I love enjoying fabulous food and drink, creating and maintaining a comfy and luxurious home, and spending time with vibrant people.
Pro tip: For a visual reminder, write out your core values on a little piece of paper and slip it into your wallet. This doesn’t have to be fancy. A sticky note always works. However, double-fudge brownie points if you turn it into a cute graphic. (I love Canva.com for this.)
@@Think about your finances, and the things that are most important to you. Then only impulse purchase what fits within your budget and core values.@@
See you next time when we'll discuss something that tricks many people into buying things they don't need: sales.