Sunday, 5 May 2013

Tips to Avoid Temptation

The best way to save money of course, is Just Don't Buy It, but that can be very difficult. If you're on a budget, or if you feel you've been spending too much lately, here are some tips for avoiding the temptation to shop. You may also find them useful if you are trying to be all "post-consumer" and  self-reliant, yet still hanker after a Pashley bicycle (even though you have a bike and never ride it) or if you are simply trying to get out of the "I'm fed up - let's go shopping" mindset. 

1. Identify whether you have a "need" or a "want". Needs, as Susan Heid, author of Money-saving Secrets for the Frugal Family Manager - Become a Frugalista in 30 days, points out that only food, clothing and shelter are absolutely essential. Other near essentials include a means of communication, reliable transportation, utilities, insurance and personal care items. These aren't about basic survival, but they are pretty useful if you want to function as a member of society. Susan Heid defines virtually everything else as a "want", which "could be cut out if necessary." Bear that in mind when you plan to buy something.

2. Unsubscribe. All the catalogues that come through the post and all the sales emails that end up in your inbox are additional temptations. If you don't see the latest homeware range from Cath Kidston or the new collection of womenswear from Toast, then you are less likely to want to buy it. So get your name removed from mailing lists, both postal and electronic. Consider removing shopping sites from your favourites/ bookmarks. 

3. Have a wish list, and prune it. I use a Pinterest board called Things I Want to Get. I go through this monthly and see what I still really would like and what was just a "flash in the pan". Some items stay on there for months, which is an indicator that they are worth saving up for.Others, I realise I might be able to make myself, instead of buy.(A wish list is also useful if someone asks you what you'd like for your birthday!). Keep your planned purchase on a list for thirty days, and if, after that time period, you still really want to buy it, start looking for the best price. 

4. Make it instead. Instead of buying a designer hoody, spend a fraction of the price on an iron-on transfer and customise your own top. With the plethora of tutorials and advice on the internet, it is possible to find out how to make just about anything, from a DIY Twirling Ribbon to dog shampoo. You can also find out how to repair or buy parts for household goods. Again, it is a good idea to use pinterest or evernote to keep track of the money-saving projects you'd like to make.

5. Distract yourself. Step away from Ebay or amazon and pause to consider what you really need. Don't make Going Round the Shops one of your hobbies. Does shopping really do the trick? Would it be better to phone a friend, go on a walk, plant some seeds or get stuck into a great book? FROM THE LIBRARY! There are many other ways to lift your mood that don't involve a credit card.

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