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Jul 13, 2011

Stop Buying Things You Can't Afford

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This should be the first 'to-do' on everyone's list, and the most obvious task at that. Stop buying things. Seriously, put down your wallet. Put down your cash. Put down your debit card. Put down your credit card. Hide it away in your wallet for now. It is time to think. Time to save. Time to gain self control and STOP stop stop buying things. It's hard, I understand. For some, this may be a foreign concept, but if you'd like to begin saving your money and saving your time, it is absolutely necessary.

Imagine what you can do with having extra money. Obviously, first priority of money should be for paying off the essentials in life such as food and shelter. Once that is accomplished, you can use the extra money saved to benefit your own self with increased happiness. Who knows! Maybe you might finally be able to fund that eccentric hobby of smashing pumpkins or eating teaspoons of fish oil on different shores of the world. Anything is possible.

Foregoing any more silly antics, allow me to adjust my tone back to playfully helpful with added seriousness. Stop buying things. I will allow you to buy a small chalkboard and a piece of chalk only to write the message "Stop Buying Things" on it. From then on, keep your promise to the blackboard.

The reason that many of us find that we lack sufficient funds to pay for things really ACTUALLY have to pay for is because we keep buying things that serve no real purpose and add very little value or use to our lives. Another thing is that we should only buy things with money that we have. That means get rid of those credit cards if you don't have the immediate funds to pay them off. If you have $1000 to your name and want to buy a TV for $1400  then DON'T do it. Putting it on a credit card will only put you in debt. Credit cards are not free money. When you don't pay the credit card bill in full for the TV that you couldn't afford but just HAD to have, your TV's price begins to accrue interest. That $1400 television set then turns on you like your best friend and ends up costing $2000+ after the final payment.

Make a list. Track your purchases. Don't let them just fade into a costly abyss. Add up your expenses and realize how much money you are wasting every day, every week, every month, every year. This is entire post is based off the very old idea of "Needs vs. Wants". You need to eat. You want a motorcycle. You need to pay the electricity bill. You want to build a deck. If you are compelled to buy material items because you think it will allow you to gain friends easier, you are going about being social incorrectly. People should like you for who you are, not the material items you own. If it is still a difficult concept to grasp, consider this:

  • You don't need to buy those cute little trinkets for around the house. They look tacky, add to house clutter, and waste money. Don't tell me you HAD to get those window stickers or talking picture frame.

  • You don't need an HDTV. Sure it's nice, but is it that extra resolution worth the cost?

  • You don't need an iPhone and you don't need a Macbook Pro. If you get a contract, you can get free Android smartphones from any carrier. Macbook Pros are unnecessarily expensive. Buy a windows or Linux alternative laptop or netbook instead.

  • You don't need to have thousands of pieces of clothing. Pick your favorite, keep it, and wear it. You are not your clothing. It does not control you. You are you. Wear a few outfits that look nice and be happy with what you have. There is no excuse for spending hundreds of dollars on clothing every time you go out to shop.

  • You don't need to buy a brand new expensive car. There are fine cars both performance and aesthetic that can be bought cheaper especially if used. Do you really need to own a Mustang?

  • The same goes for housing. Don't accept what you can't pay. If you know you rent might be hard to pay, then you can't afford it. The same goes with a mortgage. If your mortgage payment seems too high and difficult to pay, it's going to be. Live in a smaller more efficient house for cheaper. 

Bottom line? You do not need to spend money and gain material items to be happy in life. Your needs should always out weigh your wants. If you feel as if you can afford something, then by all means, give yourself a treat. But if you physically don't have the money to afford something at that exact time, DO NOT BUY IT.  

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