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But at the end of the month, you just never seem to have anything left to save.
One way to bump up what you have left at the end of the month is to control your inner shopaholic, and put an end to impulse spending once and for all.
We’ve all been there. A trip to the store for something we need and suddenly – there it is!! The perfect dealy, doo- hickey, thingamabob that we’ve wanted all our natural lives (even though we may not have realized it until just this second) and it only costs…. well, you know.
So we buy it. And we love it. For a little while anyway. Until we don’t have the money for a real need – like a car repair – or we realize that there still isn’t any money in the retirement account. Then the guilt sets in.
What to do? Well, here are a couple of quick and easy (no, really – they are easy) ways to control the shopaholic that lives inside us all.
#1 – Break it Down
This is my husband’s favorite trick. Calculate how long you have to work to earn the money to buy the object of your desire, then re-evaluate how badly you still want the item.
Here’s how: Start with your hourly wage. If you are salaried, your hourly wage is your annual salary divided by 2080 hours. Reduce that hourly wage by 30% – ’cause the tax man gets his share first, right? Now that you have your true hourly wage, divide the cost of your precious item by that number. That’s how many hours you have to work to buy your heart’s desire.
For example, lets say you make $12.00 an hour. After taking away the taxes, your true hourly wage is $8.40 ($12.00 * 70%). Now, assume you want the most fabulous handbag you have ever seen in your entire life (humor me guys, you don’t really have to buy a handbag!) and it only costs $100. You will have to work 11.9 hours to pay for the purse ($100 / $8.40=11.9). In other words, you will have to work a day and a half to buy the purse. Do you still want it? Whether you do or not, you now have a better idea of the cost of the bag, and what you are sacrificing to get it. Personally, I’m waiting for a sale!!
#2 – Delay Gratification
Yes, that’s right. Trick #2 is simply – wait. Just tell yourself that the doohickey will still be at the store tomorrow, or next week, or when you get your bonus. Tell yourself you will buy it then and just walk away.
Then tomorrow, next week, or when you get your bonus, if you still must have the thingamajig, go get it. But, I warn you, you probably won’t be as smitten with it after time has passed. In fact, you probably will have decided that you really don’t need/want it as badly as you thought. Truth be told, you probably will have forgotten about it altogether!
Now, it goes without saying that the gobs of money you save when you control your impulse spending needs to be put into a savings account. So when you decide against the $100 purse, and buy the $25 one instead, put the $75 into your savings account and watch your money grow. Before you know it, you will be making positive strides towards your goals.
I’ve done bookkeeping and accounting work for most of my adult life.