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How to fight the temptation to spend?

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.

Macbook Pro. The workhorse that I love.

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.

The iPad Pro is the greatest advancement in tablets in recent years.

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.

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