Changing your mindset so you spend less, live more is a popular New Year’s resolution that often gets abandoned before given a real chance to develop. People make it too difficult, and they fail to see the lifelong benefit that comes from becoming a responsible spender. Do things differently this year—give yourself the gift of better money management in 2015.
If your spirits waver, consider the following:
Every dollar you spend equates to hours you work.
That new cell phone isn’t free. Over the course of its contract, it will cost you upwards of two months’ income. That new car—with that financing—will take two years to pay off. Every single purchase you make relates to the time it takes to earn it. Remembering that can help you hedge in your purchases and is one of few things that can help you clear your cart before buying items you don’t need or want.
By the same token, every item you purchase is time you don’t get to spend with friends and family. It’s time you have to deal with the flickering lights in the break room, the smelly elevator, the creepy parking lot and all the worst elements of your job. Hopefully you find your job somewhat satisfying so focus on the negatives and on all of the positives you’re choosing to miss out on. What are you really spending your time on?
The latest gadgets don’t last long.
In the past, things were made to last and were fairly easy and affordable to fix, but the level of quality found in most things has changed. Cheap tablets cost under $100 and die out within three months, meaning you either have to buy a new tablet four times a year or do without. What do you really need it for anyway, and what alternatives do you have? If that tablet is for reading books and watching movies, perhaps that $400 would be better spent visiting a book store or going to a movie theater with friends.
Oftentimes, we’re influenced to buy things we see our role models using. It’s important to question purchases and whether or not they’re relevant to our lives. Do you just want something to have it, to feel like the kind of person who would own it, or do you have a real need? Instead of buying flimsy electronics on autopilot, tap into those feelings. Will you feel smarter, trendier, more relevant or worldlier with the latest gadget? Maybe it’s time to invest money in travel, education or in attending events that will give you those same feelings in a way that will last?
The more you buy, the more you need.
That tablet? It needs a rugged rubber case to keep it safe and also a screen protector, a car charger, LCD wipes, a rotating holder, a USB keypad, App Store points, a microSD card and a thousand other accessories, warranties and support items to really take advantage of it, right? Wrong. You could just buy the tablet and get a decent warranty, but that wouldn’t be as much fun. Whether you’re purchasing a car or a car stereo, there’s always something else you can/should/will buy to ensure you get the most out of it.
This habit we have of accessorizing doesn’t just lead to wasted funds, but to cluttered lives. The mandolin you buy for fast chopping, for instance, requires—at the minimum—a sharpening stone, protective clothes and a rugged cutting board capable of standing up to its razor sharp blades. Be sure to consider these at the time of purchase. Factor them into the costs, and into upkeep.
Where will you put all of these supplies? How likely will you be to use them once you get them home? How does your purchase fill a need in your life, and is there a more effective, authentic way of doing that? Would cooking classes, for instance, make you feel like a better cook in the long run than a dangerous and cumbersome appliance collecting dust in your cupboard? Ask yourself, “Which choice allows me to spend less and live more?”
When you spend, spend to earn.
There is one time when big expenses are worth it. The saying, “It takes money to make money,” is absolutely true, and if you’re spending money to either earn or save—such as taking advantage of a big sale on an item you would eventually buy for much more—the expense is often worth it. The trick is being realistic. Most people aren’t going to use a nerve-gas resistant suit within their lifetimes, so finding one at 80 percent off doesn’t save any money. Investing in a surefire way to turn dirt into diamonds isn’t likely to pay off either.
We hope these tips on how to spend less and live more will help you stretch your budget further than ever before. However, if you run into the need for last-minute financing, Title Tree is always here to help you.
Click to find your nearest Title Tree store if you need a little help making ends meet right about now so you can spend less, live more.