I must admit that my bad spending habits started at a young age! When I was a teenager I made money so I could buy things – well at least that’s what I perceived as I witnessed my parents always buying new items and going on vacations.
Well the truth soon caught up with me years later and I learned the hard way; 4 credit cards maxed, newly divorced (for the 2nd time) and 2 teenage sons that were eating my paycheques!
It took the intervention of a colleague that helped me discover what I truly wanted. She introduced me to Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins and most important – goal setting. It literally changed my life.
Today I still fight the mischievous spending monster inside of me. Check out the picture of the Princess clothes that my granddaughter just had to have while I was in Calgary! (We went shopping for my grandson’s birthday present.)
I’ve bought clothes at the store and never worn them again, and I have even shopped because I could; whether I wanted something or not, it was a subconscious affirmation that I had lots of money and could afford it or sometimes just filling a void in my life at the time.
I am mostly recovered but I must admit that I do slip on occasion, but rarely. It sure helps that I coach others about it as it inspires me to think twice at the checkout. As I tell clients, “Even if it’s on sale for 50% off, if you were not planning on buying it, then it’s 50% more than you planned to spend!”
I love to tell the story of one of my clients who had a problem with binge shopping who declared that she was not going to buy anything for a whole month. Well some stress came up in her life and what did she do? You guessed it, went shopping and bought a new shirt. On our coaching call as she admitted it to me, I said no problem, you can take it back. Well that was a problem because the store where she bought it doesn’t take returns. She had devised a way that she could keep it and justify it somehow! We had a good laugh about that one. Incidentally she still is a recovering shopaholic but recently caught herself and returned all the items she bought – very proud of her that! Her 2 sons were with her and she explained what she had done and taught them a valuable lesson at the same time.
Here are some tactics that you can use when you are spending money:
1. When you are looking at the latest new have to have item, ask yourself this; “Is this something I want right now?
2. Can I pay cash for it? (Not charging on credit card that you can’t pay off right away)
3. Do I need or want something else more?
4. What if I don’t buy it right now? (Hint: go home and think about it ;)
5. How much time will I have to work to pay for this?
You probably don’t need these tactics if shopping isn’t an issue, if you are shopping because you really need something, you want an item you’ve budgeted for or you are financially set.
But if you’re shopping just for a diversion or to make yourself feel better—no matter how well-off you are—you may be trying to fill an empty space inside you with external things (research has found lower self-esteem can link with overspending). I tell clients that it is never about the money, same goes here – it’s never about the spending.
From my own personal experience I know that binge spending never works, well maybe temporarily and then the guilt sets in. What I recommend is to bring some meaning into your life. When was the last time you went inside to figure it out? What makes your heart sing – what are your goals, dreams and desires? When you are fulfilled, all those false “needs” and cravings will fade away with what you really want.
What strategies do you have for reducing your spending? I would love to hear from you!