We all like to buy things we see in the store that we didn’t even know we wanted.
Pretty clothes, cool gadgets, a unique household appliance we didn’t know existed that could come in handy.
You see it and You want it.
And why not? You work hard and you deserve to splurge every now and then.
But how often is every now and then? Once a week? Once every other day? Check your bank statement. Think about the little stuff you’ve bought recently.
Where are these items now? How many times have you used them? Are any of them still in a shopping bag or hanging unworn in your closet?
Be honest and think about every non-essential item you have bought in the last month.
Add them all up and see what the total is.
Was all that new stuff actually worth what you ended up paying for it?
Think Time vs Price
Let’s say you make $15 an hour and you see a shirt that costs $20 and you just have to get it.
You didn’t intend on buying a shirt because you didn’t need one but this one is perfect, you have to have it.
Or do you?
Think about it.
Is the cheaply made $20 shirt worth over an hour of work at your job?
Just think of everything you have to do and put up within one hour at work. Does the shirt hold up to all the effort you had to put in to actually buy it?
If you worked for over an hour and instead of paying you money, your boss gave you a shirt, would you be okay with that?
Instead of looking at the price tag, think about how much time at work it would take you to be able to buy it.
When you are casually shopping and spot something you like but don’t need, use this mindset to see if you can justify spending money on it.
Food for Thought
Sometimes, you want to buy something unnecessary because it is convenient. Usually, it’s food-related.
You just spent 2 hours grocery shopping and the last thing you want to do when you get home is to cook. So, you decide to grab some take-out on the way home.
For a family of four, McDonald’s usually costs about $25. At $15 an hour that is over an hour and a half of work. Is McDonald’s food worth an hour and a half of your time?
You’re not just handing over $25, but your time as well. Time at work, time away from your family, time spent at a job you may not like all that much.
When to Apply Time vs Price
Admittedly, this way of thinking is not practical all the time or for every purchase. It can be a bit depressing comparing the price of things with how much time it takes to actually earn them.
The best time to use this method on spontaneous purchases. Things you don’t really need but they caught your eye.
How many times have you went to Walmart for five things and left with ten?
Something to Think About
You do work hard and you do deserve to treat yourself from time to time, but make it count.
If you’re just buying random things that don’t really mean much to you the next day, they are not worth your hard work.
Most of these tips won’t save you thousands of dollars but try one and you could save a couple hundred.
Take that extra cash and invest it or treat yourself with something really nice, not something cheap and forgettable.
This is what works for me personally. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so these methods may not work for everyone. I want to help provide financial tips I have had to learn the hard way. Please continue to educate yourself on your personal finances and keep saving.