Do you ever feel like there’s an devil on your shoulder convincing you to spend money?
I’m not sure if it’s the same devil who says ‘yes, you need another shot at 1am’, or just a close relative of hers.
Either way, these evil little goblins like to ruin your bank account or your Sunday morning. But we don’t have to give in to them every time.
There are ways to tame the devil on your shoulder when it comes to spending.
Mindful spending is where you think about what’s important to you or brings you the greatest pleasure. For example, I spend an outsize amount on fitness because it makes me happy and is good for me. But I don’t buy designer clothes or eat at expensive restaurants. I give myself permission to spend on the priority.
This is not the same as the ‘treat yo’self’ mentality. Buying an expensive pair of shoes is only mindful if you’ve previously decided that it’s part of your Mindful Spending Manifesto. You’ve accepted that expensive shoes make a positive difference to your life, and you’ve cut back on something else to allow for it.
Something that seems to permeate our culture is a sense of helplessness in the face of spending. Yes, shops are good at marketing. Yes, we all have moments of weakness. But unless you have a legit mental addiction (in which case, you should be in treatment), managing our spending should be something we work on with the same fervour as we work on our diets.
So, if you love expensive shoes, don’t go into that shop. If you overspend on boozy nights out, don’t take your card with you – make a cash budget and stick to it. If you can’t be trusted on the ASOS website, don’t click into their newsletter – which brings me to the next point…
2 – Reject reminders – I’ve heard two different people say recently that their worst habit is getting a newsletter from their favourite store, then splurging as a result. “It’s my weakness”.
Well this might sound obvious, but how about you unsubscribe? I’ll admit, these stores are clever. You can’t go to any e-commerce site these days without being offered ‘15% off for subscribing to our newsletter‘. What a bargain you say!
Sure, give them your email and get the coupon. But that’s it! No more. As soon as their welcome email hits your inbox, hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button faster than a Kylie Jenner lipstick sells out.
And if you’ve already got a bunch of these emails hitting you up, then spend 10 minutes – right now – getting them out of your life.
While you’re at it, you probably need to unfollow them on Instagram too. I know, I’m mean. But will your life really be worse because you haven’t been invited to ‘shop the new season look‘?
3 – Get off the spending merry-go-round – AKA: avoid recurring costs.
I love a Shellac manicure with all my heart. Those colours! That staying power! But I have no Shellac in my life anymore, because that shit is a revolving door of gel polish, UV light and acetone baths.
Even if you just want it for an event, you have to go back a few weeks later to get it taken off. And then while you’re there, you may as well get a new colour … and then boom! You’re back on the spending cycle. (And the impact of acetone baths on one’s health is also kinda questionable).
The same can be said for a lot of hair and beauty treatments, but also things like those ridiculous subscription boxes. Like, you really need a box of random beauty products every month? Puhlease. Tell those charlatans who’s in charge of your spending, thank you very much. (Hint: it’s you)
4 – Get smarter than the finance companies – One of the wonders of modern life is how it thinks up new ways to make you buy shit you don’t need. We’ve moved on from the old-skool credit card.
Now, we have Afterpay and zipMoney. Sure you don’t pay interest (although there can be late fees). But it takes a purchase that’s otherwise unaffordable or ill-advised, and puts it within your reach.
It breaks down the mental barrier of ‘my cashflow can’t deal with this‘.
So my advice here is simple: don’t use them. Don’t sign up to them. Don’t create an account (or cancel the one you have).
At the very least, give yourself 24 hours to consider a purchase using it. You’ll be surprised how often you change your mind.
Another trap is the credit card balance transfer. ‘Move your debt to us‘, the banks say. ‘Pay no interest!‘, they say. And you think ‘right, this is the time when I stop adding to the balance and pay off all my debts’.
If that actually happened, these things wouldn’t exist. It’s a trick. You sign up and spend more.
If you really are paying a lot of credit card debt off, and being slugged with interest, you get ONE GO of moving to a no-interest card. Then you ditch it. Freeze it, stash it with your parents, hide it somewhere. Whatever you do, don’t give yourself room to add to that card – all you’re allowed to do is pay it off.
And that, my friend, is how to slay the devil on your shoulder.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/devignelements/