Where does all my money go?!
If you’re wondering where all your money went, a quick sticky beak into your cupboards, wardrobes and drawers will show you the answer. That top? $45. That pair of shoes that were on sale? $90. Fancy pants wine glasses? $135. That hair treatment you meant to start using 6 months ago? $35.
Us humans need our stuff. In a practical sense of needing clothing and grooming, but also in an emotional sense as it makes us happy and generally increases our quality of life. However, it can be a slippery slope from “wanting” an item to “needing” an item. The words like “sale”, “bargain”, “must haves”, “limited edition” and the most lovely of all: “new” all make our eyes light up like a Christmas tree. And as we excitedly reach for our wallets, our bank accounts frown like Ebenezer Scrooge.
And when we later check in with our budgets, we scratch our heads wondering where all our money went. Again.
You’re not alone. Here are 8 super simple ways to get you started with re-addressing your relationship with the you buy stuff AND the stuff you already own whilst saving your money (and sanity).
1. Stop looking (at new stuff)
It’s really that simple.
Unsubscribe from those newsletters, stop browsing retail websites when you are bored, unfollow accounts that just push product which you’re not really that interested in, and find a new way to get your cardio done without the retail window shopping.
You will be surprised at how simply not looking (or searching) for new stuff, the less you will feel like you are missing out and less likely to tap that little plastic card for a quick thrill.
When you do need a new item, rest assured, the stores and their marketing plans will be there to help you out.
See points 3-5 below for items you do need – or are itching to buy!
2. Create mini systems that think for you to reduce impulse buys
Creating mini systems that think for you is the quickest way to eliminate impulse decision making when it comes to spending your money. Having a mini system or framework means you don’t have to make the decision by yourself, or in the moment.
Think about what triggers you to make impulse buys and find ways that work for you to reduce the likelihood of that happening. Points 3-5 are some mini systems to get you going! Get creative with your own and test what works for you.
3. Time buffers to save you from yourself
If you’re spending money to feel good and then feeling overwhelmingly guilty when you look at your budget, you need a new system. Putting in a buffer before you make a purchase is a simple tool to take off your emotional hat and switch it for a more rationale one #Adulting.
If you see something you MUST have, put a time buffer in of one day and then wait to see if you still desperately need it.
Chances are you will either decide you don’t need it, or most like most of us, completely forget about it.
When you’re in the habit of putting in time buffers, slowly increase the buffer time – ie. the length of time between impulse and purchase.
4. Research before you click ‘buy now’
The internet was created for memes and online reviews.
If you know in the distant future you need a new TV, mascara, or bed linen set, get in the habit of having a good mooch around online to see what’s going down.
It takes the element of impulse out of your purchase (insert happy bank account here), and you also know you are getting the best product for your money.
5. Once you find an amazing brand, marry it
This is perfect for our everyday products – think makeup, toiletries, shoes, clothes, haircuts, and beauty services.
Like most love stories, you will have to kiss a few frogs before you find the one you want to keep.
Once you have found a brand that makes quality items with either a price point or service that you LOVE, stick with it. It will mean that you are spending less time looking around at other brands (a.k.a shopping) and less likely to make an impulse buy that results in disappointment and a waste of your money.
If you have a favourite brand of shoes or eyeliner, keep repurchasing that item.
A tiny thrill of something new is great and all for 24 hours, but knowing that the items you buy will go the distance means you can budget effectively and know what you are getting for your dollar.
6. Learn the skill of decluttering (it’s easy peasy)
Decluttering will show you quick smart how much stuff you own. The skill is simple. Ask one question: is this item staying or leaving the house? Repeat for every item you own. It’s not for the faint hearted, and you will go through decision fatigue at one point, but the process will leave you feeling more organised and aware of what you own.
Knowing what you already own means you will be less likely to repurchase the same item because you can’t find it (been there, done that!) or an item that you don’t really need.
7. Cash in on what you already have
Money could literally be sitting in your wardrobe so selling the stuff you no longer love or use will not only make your bank account happy, but also free up space in your home.
Online marketplaces like Facebook, Ebay and Gumtree are perfect for selling second hand items. Or items never worn with the tag still on them (shhhh).
Also, when you are selling items, do a quick check as to why you bought it in the first place.
Terrible impulse buy?
Not your style anymore?
Loved and used the item but it has run its course?
Whatever the reason, doing a quick check before you sell it will reinforce not to buy the same or similar item or for the wrong reasons in the future.
8. Keep your home organised: stuff comes in, stuff goes out
To stay organised means dealing with the stuff leaving your home by decluttering and selling what you already have, but also keeping check on how stuff enters your home.
There’s no point in doing a massive declutter in your home to only end back at Square One in a few months and wondering why the guest room is full of stuff again.
Stay on top of the piles of stuff in your home by doing mini-declutter sessions every few months and be strict about what enters through your front door.
Assessing how items enter your home (stuff you have purchased) and creating a process for items leaving your home means that you will not only be creating a calmer, less cluttered home, but your savings will be looking healthier with a whole lot less money being spent on “stuff”.