In my early 20’s I was all about excess. Very inexpensive excess, mind you, but lots of “stuff” nonetheless. As I grow up and my priorities change, I’ve become very intrigued and motivated by the “buy better, buy less” mentality. It takes a level of planning and discipline I’m not completely accustomed to, but I’ve got some tips and trust me, if I can do it so can you.
5 Tips for Buying Better by Buying Less
1. Decide AHEAD of Time: I tend to be a spontaneous spender, but this simply does not work for my new lifestyle. If I’m going to spend more upfront, I need to know how much the item costs and when I plan to buy it. This will allow me to budget and save accordingly, not to mention the reward after the wait.
2. Key to success? Realistic expectations: Think of this like a diet. If you try to lose 10 pounds in 10 days through starvation and obsessive exercise, you are setting yourself up for failure. If your budget/timeline for that gorgeous leather sofa means living on canned beans and tap water for three months, the result will be much the same. Remember you’ll have this piece for years so set your timeline back a bit and be patient.
3. Manage that money! This is my biggest downfall as a saver. When I want to go out for dinner or grab an expensive latte, I do it without considering the financial repercussions. Yes, it’s a drag, but take a week or two, record your purchases (all of them) and I guarantee you’ll be fairly astounded at this “phantom” spending. Remember – it’s pretty darn tough to save money you don’t realize you’re spending, so awareness is essential.
4. Keep your savings separate: It’s a heck of a lot harder to save if all of your funds are funnelled into the same place. Word of advice: if you haven’t already, head to the bank, open a savings account and when you’re not feeding it, forget it exists. Everything else is for bills and monthly expenses, but that savings account contains your new sofa (perhaps the Gina Sleeper Sofa below?) and nothing else.
5. Be a VIP – Visualize, Invest, Plan: You’ll notice that planning is the general theme here, and that will continue right through purchase day. Plan ahead and if using your card makes more sense (gotta love those points!) then pay with your card and IMMEDIATELY pay it off. I have made the mistake many a time, of waiting to pay off my card and suffering the interest consequences. If you’re paying straight from your account just think about how incredibly awesome it is to pay for a big purchase in full and remain debt free.