As we’ve been going through our house packing stuff up and preparing to move I’ve been amazed at just how much “stuff” we have that we really don’t need. There are so many things in our house that we have wasted money buying. When I look at all the stuff and think of the money we could have saved, it upsets me. Now I’m trying to let that be my motivation to do a better job keeping our future spending on track.
The key to reigning in spending is defining need and want. Here are my definitions for need and want:
A need is something that you truly cannot do without. Everyone needs food, water, shelter and basic clothing. After that your needs can vary a bit. For example, I need to be able to get to work every day so I need transportation. There is no public transportation in the area where I live to I need a car. For those that work outside the home, your job probably requires you to dress to a certain standard. That means that you need clothes that fit those standards.
This is everything that isn’t a need. If you look around your house you’ll see a lot of items that aren’t necessarily needed. For example, you really don’t need a television. Oh, they’re nice and you can watch a lot of great programs on there, but you don’t need one.
As you can see, most of us buy a lot of goods that are not needs. They’re nice and we get enjoyment from them most of the time, but if you’re truly looking to cut your spending and save money, the wants category is where you need to cut. Now, obviously you aren’t going to be happy never buying the non-necessities so you do need to make allowances for them. Here are the guidelines I’m setting for myself. Before I can buy something that is a want and not a need, I must meet all of these conditions:
- Wait 48 hours. Once those 48 hours are over, decide if I really do still want it after all.
- Consider how much use I am truly going to get from this item. Is it really worth spending my hard earned money on?
- Calculate how many hours I need to work to pay for that item. Use my true wage for this one.
- Consider alternatives that could be more frugal.
- Search around for the best price.
- Pay cash!
- For every item that comes into the house, one must go out.
I figure that if I can go through all of this and still want the item, then it is really worth spending my money on. It’s amazing how many items won’t make it through this list.
This post is being linked to Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom. You can lots of links there with all kinds of money saving tips.