Some people are really protective over what they spend in that they don’t want to let anyone else persuade them to buy something. They may be very skeptical about spending money on new products or services that fall outside of their ‘norm’.
I used to be like this, but not I spend based on my values. I’m open to exploring new things, but I’m also super clear on my goals and what I’m looking for.
If something is going to truly improve my life, provide convenience, or protect myself and my family, I’ll probably spend money on it. Even then, I’m going to do some research and compare all my options.
It took me a while to get to this point. I used to overspend all the time. I was never concerned about getting the best bang for my buck.
While being leery of other people trying to spend my money for me was a concern, I didn’t realize that I was my own worst enemy when it came to convincing myself to overspend.
A few years ago, I tricked myself and my husband into making a huge and unnecessary purchase.
Notice I Said I Tricked Myself
I’m not going to blame it on the salesperson who sold us the item. I went into the store determined to get it and I convinced myself and my husband to buy it.
It was around Labor Day weekend. I was in need of a new bed as my current one was really hurting my back. I convinced myself that I needed a “special” bed – one of those fancy ones with memory foam.
I persuaded my boyfriend (now husband) to come with me to choose a new bed. The “holiday sales” weren’t that good that good to be honest, because the bed we wanted came with a hefty price tag of $2,400. Then we added a frame and mattress cover which brought our grand total to $3,000 with the help of taxes on the purchase.
We certainly didn’t have that money on hand. But oh, but we could finance it!
Now the frugal woman in me would normally be screaming NO WAY to this entire idea, but for some reason, I saw it as a necessary purchase to solve my problems.
0% APR Still Doesn’t Make It Better
Like other debts I’ve accumulated over the years, I really regret this one. Sure, we got 0% interest for 5 years and a 10-year warranty on the bed, but the payments have been on autopilot for what seems like forever.
The bed actually didn’t really help my back much more than other beds and I hate making long-term payments. Sure, $50/month doesn’t seem like much when you think about it, but it’s still money that could be staying in your pocket.
Imagine if you also finance your car, your phone, and furniture. Those ‘small’ payments could definitely add up over time. Before you know it, you’re a slave to payments and have less income left over each month.
Sometimes we convince ourselves that if we can afford the monthly payment, we can also afford the item. Juggling student loan, credit card, car loan, and medical debt payments over the past few years has been rough and making payments on this extra purchase in addition to everything else just hasn’t been worth it.
I’ve caught myself continually push it back to worry about other bills and since there’s no interest, it falls low on the priority list. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t irk me at times.
It Sucks to Overspend
All this is to say that it sucks to buy impulsively and overspend. I now realize that I could’ve gotten a much better deal on that bed. No one forced or convinced me to buy it. I sought out the opportunity myself and didn’t want to shop around or get advice. We all make mistakes, and I do a lot of things differently now to avoid overspending (especially by thousands of dollars) and getting into debt.
I don’t just buy an item at the first store I see it at anymore especially if I’m not too familiar with what the market value rate generally is. I take the time to compare pricing and shop online a lot because it’s just easier to compare that way.
I actually bought my son a bed recently and read a lot of reviews and compared prices before pulling the trigger. I was pleased to order a hybrid memory foam and spring mattress with a bed frame all for $250. Get this, the bed is super comfortable and I’m even thinking about ordering another one for my guest room.
Paying in Cash
Getting into debt (except for a house) just isn’t worth it to me anymore so I commit to buying everything in cash. If you can’t afford it, you probably shouldn’t get it. I know that sounds harsh, but it makes a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to do sometimes and I still struggle with it actually.
If I really want something but don’t have the cash on hand to buy it, I try to wait. For example, I’m so ready to become team iPhone right now but have other expenses I’m prioritizing. Instead, I’m setting aside money when I can so I can pay for a new phone in cash and not finance it.
Taking Advantage of Coupons and Discounts
I believe in smart spending. Sometimes that means taking advantage of the resources you have like coupons and discounts. I love using free programs like Ebates and Ibotta to earn cash back on my shopping. I also enjoy checking out the clearance section when I’m in the store to see what I might be able to save money on.
I’m big on prioritizing my time so I’m not going to spend hours hunting down coupons, but I don’t mind using apps, discount sites, and other quick and easy ways to help me lower my spending.
If it just takes a few minutes, it’s usually worth it to me and I have the benefit of knowing I stuck to my budget and still got what I wanted.
Now I’m ready to hear from you.
Have you ever overspent on a huge purchase or even accumulated debt afterward and felt guilty about it?
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