I once read in an economics-related book that the market strives on impulsive buying. The advertisers and marketing revolves around the idea that customers can spend but are held back by a small thread. Or we can say a small nudge is all that is required to make that purchase. This could be in the form of an attractive sale, the dream of a good lifestyle or refresh of a new product line. The main enemy of saving is spending. With all these around how do we fight the temptation to spend?
Today we are in a pandemic situation. Because of this situation, most humans were stripped to only their basic needs. This made me realise how much I was spending unnecessarily. I started to budget my expense and saving a lot. If you want to know how to save at any time then please read here.
How do I fight the temptation?
Ever since the lockdown started the liquor shops were closed. This was almost two months ago. The government very recently decided to open up the shops. I had a huge urge to go and stock up some bottles. But in my previous post, I had written how I will spend only for the things I need. I had said that I will buy only one beer and upload on my Instagram profile.
But what if I don’t buy even that. Not because I want to live frugally but because of the large queues and the increased corona tax. I managed to do just that and I would like to tell you how I did that. Buy buying it with cash instead of a debit card I was able to devoid myself of the opportunity. Yes! Its that simple.
Let’s break it down
When I want to buy something and its tempting I keep thinking about it. And since I am thinking about it always I make my research and prepare my mind to buy. This is against my factual knowledge that I don’t need that item. Then comes the stage when I come across that item and I have to pay for it. Paying is the ultimate action that I need to perform to make the transaction. If I am able to stop the ultimate action then I am safe.
This is the point where I am vulnerable and eventually fall by paying for the item. So for me what has worked is to remove the opportunity to pay. Paying by cash is a very visual image of seeing our wealth go away from us. So by making a cash transaction I give myself the pain of seeing my hard-earned money go into buying an item that I do not need.
Kill the impulsiveness
Although buying is very impulsive if you jump across that one minute. The minute you are about to spend then you are safe. Here are a few things that I usually do. I try to avoid going anywhere near the store, I try to make such transactions using cash (which I usually don’t carry because of digitalisation), try to wrap some logic around to tell me it is wrong. If all fails then I do the math on the item. For example, say I spend an X amount in buying the item. I see what is the Y amount that I am going to get out of it. If Y is greater than X then go make the purchase.
For example, if I am buying a laptop I go ahead and buy a Macbook-Pro. Here I don’t show my frugality. Because using a Macbook Pro will help me earn much more than what I have invested. I design, develop, edit video and much more. But if you were just using a spreadsheet and work with documents then using a normal laptop is also fine. To put it in better perspective I want to buy an iPad Pro since the day it has come out. I really WANT to buy it but I do not NEED it. Apart from the fact that I will have an iPad, there isn’t much I can do with it. Everything that an iPad can do my mobile can do.
Making such reason helps sometimes. This has kept me away from making bad investments. To conclude I wouldn’t say that you should never enjoy the pleasure of owning things. For me at this stage where I want to be debt-free, investing in things that I don’t need is a bad idea. I will buy an iPad Pro when I am debt free and have all my financial plans in place. I think I can reward myself for all the hard work. Till then I will fight the temptation to spend.