A knee jerk reaction in imposing a spending ban does seem like an obvious solution. However, I think there’s one major problem with them. During that time it’s easy to still fill up online baskets, create abundant Pinterest wishlists, and generally stockpile every single thing you’ve seen and think you might like to buy once the ban is over. Because that is inevitably what happens a lot of the time. It’s like when you give up cake for lent. And then all you can think about is cake.
And just like with diets, it’s better to create a longterm (hopefully lifelong) healthy attitude towards your finances.
Bills and debt repayments should always take priority. Know what they tally up to and mentally remove these from your bank balance. With the amount leftover subtract the amount you’ll need for food and travel and any other essential spending. What you’re left with is the amount you have to play with.
SAVE INSTEAD OF BAN
The simple solution is to split your disposable income in half. Put half in to a savings account and keep the other half for what you want. After a few months you’ll either have a practical back up plan or a fund for treats. And you will also have taken control of your spending as this way you’re not restricting yourself but you are limiting the amount of pocket money that you have. After all, willpower has a way of waning when you’re told not to do something.
STOCK TAKE, DON’T DUPLICATE
Especially when it comes to beauty products it is really easy to stockpile. But if, like me, you actually have a drawer with four unopened moisturisers in , put that new one back on the shelf. It will still be there when you do need one.
Every now and again I like to tip everything out on to my bed / in to the bathtub. Then I’ll get rid of the things that are out of date. Any other surplus to requirements can go in the “Hand Me Down” pile and everything else – well I write down what I actually have and then I can decide what I actually need to buy for the month ahead.
SHOP ONLINE BEFORE YOU SHOP OUTSIDE
Essentially, adding things to an online shopping basket can act as a way of making a list. Once you’ve filled that shopping cart take a look at it and take out everything you’re actually not sure about. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
You might actually find that after originally putting £300 worth of clothes into your Topshop basket, only one jumper is actually screaming at you. Now sleep on it. Take a week over it. If you still are adamant that you want it, then it’s something you will use, find joy in, and can justify purchasing. But try to only do this with items that are either a) seasonal, or b) fulfilling a new role. If you already have seven mascaras, an eighth probably isn’t really a good idea.
I’m not saying never have a spending ban. They can provide a great financial detox and give you the space to free up your space from clutter, stuff, things, and hoopla. However, it is only a short term solution. Instead, work on changing your attitude to your finances and creating a budget as that is the best way to build a life where actually, every now and again, you don’t have to worry about spending money on something special.
I’ll be going through budgeting and finance in a Routines post soon, where I will include an easy budget form to get you started. Money puts an awful lot of pressure on all people. Remember, you should be in control of it, not the other way around.