I have a real inner conflict with myself. One side of my brain really wants to save all of the money that I possibly can to save for my future and to create a life with as little financial stress as possible. But the other side is too busy spinning round in circles and finger painting.
That side thinks that the bar or chocolate I add to my shopping trolley is necessary, or that cactus/photo frame/kitchen utensil/dress is something that I desperately need. I buy the item for the immediate gratification, with no regard for my overall goals.
I get so excited to own that item, and then I get home and immediately am filled with guilt, AKA, buyer’s remorse.
Then, every time I look at that item, I feel that guilt over and over again, that twisting feeling in my gut that reminds me each time that that item does not align with my values. That item brings me no joy. In fact it just brings more stress to my life.
And that’s just no fun.
I’m on a journey to train the side of my brain that throws caution to the wind and buys whatever catches its’ fancy. I want to feel good about my purchases, and only buy the things that bring me happiness and add a lot of value to my life.
I want to be more mindful and think longer term happiness rather than succumb to immediate gratification followed by remorse.
I need far less in my life than my irresponsible mind would have me believe.
There are a few things that have helped me be more mindful before purchasing anything and today I wanted to share them with you, hopefully they help you as they do me. I’m absolutely not perfect, but I’m building my smart financial muscles day by day.
- Do you know your hourly wage? If not, work it out. And then every time you see something that you want in a shop, think of if in terms of hours you would have to work to be able to afford that item. To work this out, divide the cost of the item by your hourly wage to get the cost of your item in hours worked. Remember to work out your hourly wage after tax, as that is the amount you actually get to see. (Click here to quickly work out your hourly wage online and how much tax you pay.) For example if you earn £10 an hour after tax, and the dress that you so love is £40, would you be willing to work 4 hours in exchange for that dress? This is something that helps me a lot as it really puts the item’s value into perspective.
- If you are shopping online, add the item to your basket and leave the item in there for at least 48 hours (for small purchases. I would suggest trying to go 30 days for more expensive items), but go as long as you can. Likelihood is that you will forget about the item and never actually get around to buying it. If you are still thinking about it after that time is up, you will have had more time to consider the purchase and decide whether it is something that will bring a lot of value to your life and if you think it is worth it.
- If the supermarket sweets and chocolate aisle is your downfall. DO NOT GO DOWN THE AISLE. Just walk right past it. Just pretend like it’s not there. Not only will it stop you spending money needlessly, but it will also save your waistline! I know that this is not always possible, for example, when you’re paying for petrol you may have to queue up right next to the sweets, but honestly just look the other way. Don’t even let the thought linger in your mind. Another tip for the petrol station is to pay with cash. Bring the exact cash to the station with you, fill up with that amount of petrol. Leave your debit card in the car, and you physically will not be able to buy the sweets or chocolate.
Do you have any tips for being more mindful when you’re around the shops or find yourself browsing online?
I would love for you to share them with me in a comment down below!
Until next time