Start Conquering Your Bad Money Decisions Right Now!
Hey, What Do You Have to Lose by Trying This?
By Remar Sutton
You just need to break one habit: mindless spending. And you CAN break that habit. Promise yourself to try this for one month. Enlist a partner if you can.
Remember the magic questions! Ask them all the time:
- Do I really need it?
- Is there a less-expensive option?
Tackle smaller impulse-spending first.
- NEVER charge small impulse buys.
- If you need one item (like toothpaste) buy one item. Cash or debit only.
- Treat yourself to items like expensive coffee or lunch only occasionally, not as a routine.
- Limit or stop online impulse buying.
- Don't graze your way through the mall, convenience and grocery stores—make a list of what you need!
- Set a weekly impulse-buying allowance. Use Cash. When the cash is gone, stop buying.
Choose a short-term savings goal right now.
- A computer, a new appliance, etc.
- Each day, write down roughly what you've saved by not impulse buying.
- Make a weekly deposit into your "goal" savings account.
Start rethinking larger impulse buys now.
- Always build in a cooling-off period before making a larger purchase.
- Always research objectively.
- Remember the magic questions.
Above all, save some money, starting now.
- If your job offers an automatic savings deduction option, sign up!
- If your job offers retirement savings, take advantage of it.
- Start an automatic savings transfer at your financial institution.
- Then forget that money exists!
Here's the Biggest Truth in the Whole Gullibility Project
Improving your financial well-being for the rest of your life comes down to a simple plan consistently followed. Whatever your income, whatever your future, both will be more plentiful if you follow this plan.
BIG, YET SIMPLE TIPS AND NUGGETS OF INFO FROM THE GULLIBILITY PROJECT'S THREE MAIN TOPICS.
You'll also find resources on most of these topics under the various tabs at the top of the Gullibility website.
Wants vs. Needs
- Use cash instead of charging.
- Buy cheaper brands (Levis vs. designer jeans)
- Buy a good used vehicle instead of a new, expensive one.
- Always shop alternatives to dealer financing!
- Never buy an expensive item on the first visit. Think about it.
- Compare the cost of brand name items vs. store-brand items
- Take time to do your homework when buying a new home.
- Compare the cost of different vacations. Find the best deals.
- Rent a movie rather than going to the cinema.
- On average you spend $11 more each time you use a credit card rather than cash for small purchases.
- Use your debit card rather than credit card for small or repetitive purchases.
- Teach your kids to develop shopping lists!
- Discourage the kids from adding items to the cart that aren't on your shopping list.
- Buy less expensive snacks (and try a banana rather than chips!)
- If you're feeling buyer's remorse, try returning the item, but remember that feeling.
- Remember that sales aren't an excuse to shop for unnecessary things.
- Prepaid phones might save you $18,000 over your economic lifetime.
- Use the web for serious research, not impulse buying!
- Take a "Time Out" before making the final decision on a major purchase.
- Get over your fear of negotiating!
- Take a "Time Out" before buying downloadable books and movies.
- Constantly ask yourself these two questions before buying anything:
- Do I really need this?
- Is there a cheaper and better option?
- Teach this mantra to all members of your family: if it isn't on the list, question it! The best money habit you can teach your kids is the habit of thoughtful spending. Move this up by the other "list" bullets.
- Develop shopping lists for more than groceries: clothes and household items, vacations and major purchases like cars, homes and education.
- Beware of marketing tricks. Buying in volume doesn't always save you money.
- Always compare portion costs!
- Budget money for impulse buys. Skipping all impulse buys is boring and self-defeating.
- Set a small "play" allowance for you and your kids.
- Read the fine print. Assume the fine print makes the big print a lot less impressive.
- Buying items on sale makes great sense ONLY if you actually need the item.
- Before reaching for an item on sale, ask yourself, "Do I really need that item?"
- Always assume items—from cars to houses to vacations—don't have guarantees. You'll probably do more homework if you assume that!
- Remember that celebrity spokespersons don't improve—or change—the quality, safety or value of any product or service.
- The larger the amount of money, the slower you should move. Take at least a week to make a decision on a vehicle purchase. Take months to make decisions about buying a home.
- Brand-name products can be better at times, but you'll never know if you don't compare them regularly to store brands.
- Teach young people to always shop with lists, always use wants vs. needs test, always question a seller's claim by doing research.