17 September 2014

Spring Clean Your Finances Week 3 - Just Say No

If you like to shop you will know that from the moment you set foot in the shopping centre car park you are being tempted to spend, spend, spend. Actually these days you are probably being tempted before you leave home with emails advising sales and special offers and of course highway advertising.

So just say no.

It's usually the first real word babies learn, so if a baby can say it so can you! Marketing experts depend on our inability to say no. They place the most expensive items at eye level in the most eye-catching displays. The real bargains are on the top and bottom shelves. Say no to expensive eye-level buys and look high, look low for the real bargains.

When you are tempted to buy things that aren't on your shopping list, that you don't have the cash to pay for or that would put you over-budget, first ask yourself whether or not it's a necessity.  Most of the time, it's not. Then remember the $100/24 hour rule (if it costs more than $100 wait 24 hours before buying it).

But what if you find a really great deal on something?

Again, ask yourself whether you really need the item? Will it will go back on sale at some other point in time? Do you really need it? Do you really want it? Do you have the cash to pay for it?

You know that most grocery items run through a sale cycle. If an item is on sale at Store A this week, you know it will most likely be on sale at Store B next week. If you still think it's too good a deal to pass up and you don't have the cash, use your grocery slush fund or your mad money, or go back to your Spending Plan and review your categories. Is there wriggle room in a category that you can use for this really great deal? If so then perhaps you'll be able to afford it. If not then really think hard before spending money on it. Remember your Spending Plan is not set in cement, it is a fluid and constantly changing document to help you stay on budget and help you live within in your means.

It's OK to say no to people too. Most of us have friends or family members who love to spend. They don't understand how to live according to a spending plan. Try to plan ahead. If shopping with them is too much of a temptation invite them to your home. If they like to eat out perhaps you can join them for coffee and dessert rather than a full meal? Or meet at lunchtime instead of dinnertime.

You don’t need to be anti-social because you are living the Cheapskates way. There will be times you won't be able to avoid spending money and that’s OK. But there will also be times when you can just say "no thanks" and relax, knowing your budget won't suffer. You don't need to explain why you've said no, it's no one's business but yours. Just say "no".

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