Spending is built into our DNA. Just as we can’t live without oxygen, which is free, we can’t live without food, clothes and shelter, which we must acquire through the expense of effort or money. Of course, spending is not limited to life’s necessities. We buy everything under the sun, whether we need it or not. Sometimes we buy things we don’t even want. Before you make a purchase ask yourself the following questions:
- Will this expense make or enable me to make money?
Spending money to make money is usually a good idea. Investing in your education will prepare you for a higher paying job.
- Will this expense save me money?
Spending more today can save you money tomorrow. When you shop for quality by buying a better-made couch, you extend the life of your purchase and avoid frequent replacement costs.
- Is this expense necessary for survival?
We all need a place to live, food to eat, clothes to protect us against the elements, transportation, education and healthcare. You can’t avoid these expenses, so read “The $500 Cup of Coffee” for sound spending and savings advice.
- Will this expense improve my relationship with others?
You’re best friend is getting married and asks you to be her bride’s maid. Even if she’s mindful of the cost, she’ll probably select a dress that’s a bit too rich for one-time wear. What are you going to do? You’re going to buy the dress, of course.
- Will this expense help others?
There are times in life when you need or want to help others. Sometimes you have no choice; sometimes it just feels good to give because lending a helping hand lifts your spirits, as well as the fortune of those in need.
- Is this expense for something I’ve wanted and saved for?
If you really want a MacBook Pro and have saved for the past 8 months, buy it. Your savings commitment deserves to be rewarded.
- Does this expense improve my quality of life?
If buying a car saves you time commuting to work and shopping for groceries and, you have better quality of life. But no matter what car you drive – a 2015 BMW or a 2007 Corolla – you’re stuck in the same traffic. According to research, once we meet our basic needs, spending more for expensive houses, cars, clothes and vacations do not add to our happiness.
- Is this expense for something fun?
You’ve heard the expression “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But worse than dull, you lose energy, interest and your ability to focus when you spend all your time working. You need to take time away to relax your brain and recharge your battery, so you can return renewed and refreshed. So, yes, spend money for a gym membership, an occasional night out, a weekend trip to the country. Just don’t overdo it.
- Is this an impulse purchase or something I can live without?
Impulse shopping can be fun, but you usually regret it when your credit card statement arrives, so be careful.