How to Avoid Spending Guilt & Sleep Better at Night
I talk a lot about saving and a little about spending. But the truth is, I love spending! Shopping is one of my main hobbies, even if it is just browsing around trying to find the best deals. What is it about people who love to get a good deal? I think you’re born with that gene or you aren’t. However, I used to be in a place where spending was not fun, not enjoyable, and after I made a purchase, I would feel intense regret later or return it only to find myself back in the same position the next weekend.
So, what changed? I still make purchases, I still spend money, but my qualifiers differed a bit. By doing a few small tricks, I saved myself an intense internal struggle, and now I’m able to spend happily without that gnawing feeling. Here’s what I did:
Take Inventory of What You Already Own
Marie Kondo your life? Not exactly. But, once I moved, I realized how much stuff I already had. Honestly, it was a little nauseating. You know those clothes that get trapped in the back of your closet or the small items you forgot you had? Once you pull all of that stuff out, you realize you probably have a heck of a lot more than you like, or even want. What was the most shocking to me was realizing how many things still had price tags on them! That really infuriated me. I couldn’t believe how much money I had spent on something that I had never even worn. It was a bit of a wake-up call for me and made me realize that money that I had at the end of the month wasn’t magically disappearing; it was going straight to my closet and depreciating.
Think of Your Long-Term Financial Goals
I wrote about this in my birthday ritual, but if you don’t know what your financial goals are, you certainly will never reach them. I had to get serious with myself, and I took at a look at my finances and realized if I kept up this spending rate, I would never be able to buy a house, a goal I had longed for. This really changed my mindset. No longer would I go out and buy things to buy things, but instead I would take that money that I would have used to buy something and put it in my savings account. This got me excited about my goals but also helped me prioritize what I was spending my money on. Also, it still allowed me to spend! But instead of buying something I never would use, I was buying myself a down payment on a house.
Buy Investment Products
Heading out the store because every item you own broke, or won’t work, or doesn’t look good anymore? Stop buying things for a temporary basis and start purchasing investment products. I’m not talking about securities I’m talking about buying a fabulous vacuum, an excellent moisturizer, a beautiful coat, a classic couch. Buy things that will last. When you do this, you don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy the trendiest item every time it comes out because you have timeless pieces. Are you overspending because you have nothing that lasts? It may take a temporary hit on your finances but will stay over the long-term.
Get a Clear Picture
I can’t tell you how many times I spent money because I genuinely thought I had it in my bank account only to forget about that pesky electric bill or that donation I made or that oil change this month. Getting a clear picture of your entire finances every day is genuinely life-changing. I’ve been using Personal Capital for years now and without it, I’m not sure I would be able to keep up with all of my accounts and investments. This way, I know where I stand every day and don’t have to feel like I need to remember what I’ve already spent my money on, it does it for me. It also gives me peace of mind that I’m not missing something or forgetting about a big expense.
Enjoy Your Life
Lastly, start enjoying your life. Most spending comes out of depression, anxiety, worry, or covering up other feelings. I know we aren’t supposed to talk about finances and mental health, but they go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t making time for yourself, doing hobbies you enjoy, or setting aside some time for peace, you are doing yourself an injustice. Try to take time to enjoy what you have, and you may find you don’t need to spend money after all.