Shifting your mindset is important if you want to gain control of the money in your life. This control will make saving money easier. If you have an issue with discipline or impulsive shopping, these are some things you can work through before hitting the register at Target lol. Yes, I know about that Target “struggle” 🙂
Here’s a financial decision-making thought process I encourage my coaching clients to go through when the urge to buy is strong. The most important thing you must do is to STOP and think. When you increase the amount of time between picking up the item and checking out your logical brain kicks in over your emotional (“I deserve…”) brain. Usually, when we have these urges it’s our subconscious mind pushing us to fill some need or void that won’t be filled by buying things. So before walking to that register here’s a thought process to work through that help you gain control over your money and will save you money!
Just please don’t block the aisle lol
Pause and take a moment (while you’re shopping or right before you go to checkout) and work through this 5 step process and answer honestly.
Ask yourself: Is this a want or a need?
Needs = Food (groceries), Shelter (rent / mortgage/ utilities), Transportation (Gas / Metro Card), Clothing (necessities, not nice to haves)
Wants = anything that doesn’t fall into the “needs” categories
Ask yourself: If this is a need, WHY do I NEED it? And HOW have I been getting along without it until now?
This question will show you what you THINK is a need vs. what is ACTUALLY a need.
Ask yourself: If this is a WANT, why do I want it? What VOID may it be filling in my life that I can’t fill without buying this?
The response to this question might surprise you! The void you find will not be filled by buying something.
Ask yourself: Do I have something like this which is similar or as useful? Do I have to get rid of something to make room for this new thing?
In the declutter group I am in the rule is “1 in, 2 out!” Also decluttering your home helps you to see what you already own and helps to reduce duplicates which will also save you money.
Ask yourself: How long do I have to work to pay for it? Is it worth an hour’s pay? Is it worth a day’s pay? If you work with clients, ask yourself: Is this worth a session’s pay?
Thinking about this puts your purchase into the context of work and how much longer will you have to work to pay for this or to pay this off on your card. I am sure you want the money you earn from work to go to very fulfilling things in life like travel (which fulfills the soul), purchasing a home, or saving for retirement!
Go through this process a few times. It will suck but it’s necessary. After doing this process you will either decide that buying the item is worth it and do so or put it back and walk out of the store.
When I go through this process I often realize I just want to see something new in my home. Growing up we hardly had new things. So I might just imagine it in my home and then put the item back and refocus on my current money goals. This gives me something to look forward to and clears up those feelings of lack in the back of my mind. The mind is such a fickle thing and it needs to be constantly reminded (not suppressed) that everything is ok because it naturally slips back into what it “knows”.
Do you have a purchasing process or financial decision-making process? Let me know in the comments below!
If you are interested in having a small print out of this process to put in your wallet with your debit card (which I highly recommend) click the image below to download it today!