By Jameliah Francis
Habits are developed over time and can be extremely difficult to break. It’s even more difficult when it involves spending money, especially during the holiday season. The shopping list may be exhaustive, with a variety of gifts for friends and loved ones and items for the home. While shopping for the holiday is all well and good, over shopping or overspending can lead to huge regrets. Why so?
Well to start, you may tend to buy want you want and not what you need. For the most part, making the distinction between “wants” and “needs”, can be difficult at times and as such, varies from person to person. For example, you need to eat; however, rather than making a home-cooked meal which may be cheaper, you may want to eat out at a top-notch restaurant that may ultimately put a hole in your pockets. Therefore, it is extremely important to make such a distinction, more so for the holiday season.
Another aspect that should be considered is whether you’re spending more than you earn. No matter the type of job you have, this should never be the case. One should always try as much as possible to live within their means…financially and otherwise. Having this discipline is quite necessary for attaining good financial stability and a well-balanced life. How do you break bad spending habits? Here are some suggestions:
Make a budget
This is a very important initiative that can reap favorable results once taken seriously. Though it is not always the easiest thing to do, having a budget enables one to have a tight grasp on their financial activities. According to Destinee Whittington, Mayor Marian Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, “Many people dream of being rich but aren’t sure how to obtain an abundance of wealth or where to start. You can start by learning how to budget. Budgeting is essential because it can help you begin to establish wealth and reach your savings goals.”
Give yourself permission to spend
Not everything that is on the store shelf is worth buying. Sometimes there are things that one can truly live without. On the other hand, one should not deprive themselves either. Therefore, it is wise to give yourself permission to spend. Ask yourself these questions: Do I need this, or do I want this? Would this add value to my life? Would buying this product or service put a hole in my pockets? After truthfully answering these questions, a decision can then be made to buy or not to buy.
Shop with a plan
Aimlessly shopping will run you into much overspending. One way to over come this is to simply have a plan. Though this may seem old fashioned…making a shopping list can be very helpful and comforting. While you’re in the comforts of your home, you can determine what you need and how much you wish to spend. This simple, yet effective approach eliminates overspending.
Don’t shop when you’re emotional
One should be very mindful of emotional spending and should at all cost refrain from shopping whenever you’re in an emotional state. You may be extremely sad and may feel the need to treat yourself by means of shopping. While this may be a good way to overcome your sadness, it may also be detrimental to your pockets. Also, for the holiday season people tend to get very excited when shopping. With all the different products being on display, it may be very easy to get overwhelmed. As such, one should be careful to keep a level head in avoiding overspending.
Not easy, but worth it
Keeping finances under control is never an easy task. It is a custom that must be molded into the day-to-day aspect of life and should be treated as a priority. The beautiful thing about it is it’s never too late to start healthy financial habits. And with the holiday season quickly approaching, now would be a great time start. Before too long, you will appreciate the efforts and see that said efforts though not easy, were worth it.
This is an insightful article. Too many people pick up bad habits from their families and communities about spending and get no real education about money until they are suffering the consequences of not having enough.