How To Be A Conscious Spender
This year, Claire Connell analysed her own spending and did some research into money habits. She shares some tips to help you spend less on things you don’t need.
19 October 2021
Being out of control with your spending can be a stressful way to live.
Sometimes spending sneaks up on you. Have you ever been on a spending spree which feels good at the time? But a few days later, you’re left with a hole in your bank account and items you didn’t really need, or want?
This year, I decided to become a conscious spender – and I’ve seen a big difference in my money behaviours. I have more money to spend on things I really want. And the things I buy, I love and use a lot.
Take control and become a conscious spender. You’ll be buying things that are of real value to you, and not wasting money on things that don’t enhance your life. Here are some of the tools that helped me improve the way I shop.
Make a list
Everything I see that I’d like to buy, I add to a list. They’re usually small things, like makeup, a kitchen product, or a new book.
Every time I get paid, I think about what I’d like to buy that pay cycle. But I find that before payday, I’ve usually already lost interest in many products on my list.
Having a list system is a great way to work out how much you could be spending, perhaps in your previous life as an impulse shopper.
Keep a running total of how much all the items add up to, and you might be surprised at how much you’ve saved by deferring spending or losing interest in the purchase. Some people use a system where, if they decide not to buy something, they deposit that same amount of money into a savings account.
Prioritise your favourites
Prioritising what you really want to buy can help.
On the top of your list, put the things you really want. Often, the items at the bottom of the list drop off – you might wonder why you even wanted them in the first place.
If you’re still keen on the product a while later, shop around online for the best value for money. Often there are many different versions of the same product, and you’ll find a better deal. Or you might find something that will work even better.
Take your time
On your journey to becoming a conscious spender, time is your friend. If you tend to buy on impulse, taking time out to think hard about the purchase can help. After a few days you might realise it’s not a good buy, or decide to wait longer before committing.
Choose wisely to make sure what you buy will make you happy, and that you’ll still love it after a week.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is it exactly the item I want?
- Can I really afford it?
- Will I use it enough?
- Do I really need it?
- Can I get a better deal elsewhere?
- Are there other things I’d rather spend my money on?
- Should I sleep on it before deciding?
Minimalism and frugality are hot trends right now. Getting on board with these mindsets could inspire you.
You don’t need to be extreme, but first try using up what you have, and selling what you don’t need before buying more stuff. Buying less, particularly plastic products, is better for the planet too.
Think about the impacts
Many of us are guilty of spending most of our money at the start of the pay cycle. If we spend lots of money on impulse buys at the start, it leaves us less at the end.
When you’re thinking about buying something, consider the impact it could have, especially if it adds up to hundreds of dollars.
It might leave you short of cash this pay cycle, and might have a spin-off effect on what you do in a week or two.
Why impulse spending is bad
- You’re often left with products you don’t like
- You can get into credit-card debt. High-interest debt can really slow your financial progress
- You’re often left with feelings of guilt, if you’ve overspent
- It’s harder to keep track of how much you’ve spent during a day of shopping
- You don’t allow time to potentially find better versions of the same product
- You’re often the victim of clever marketing ploys or end up buying things on sale that you don’t need
- It’s easy to overspend and lose sight of your budget.
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Informed Investor's content comes from sources that Informed Investor magazine considers accurate, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Charts in Informed Investor are visually indicative, not exact. The content of Informed Investor is intended as general information only, and you use it at your own risk.