Recently, I was taking in some content by an expert in psychology and money, Brad Klontz. He studies how people make money decisions and the emotional barriers that exist to making good decisions.
One of his tips to help people spend less money was to put a note in your cell phone that would have the following questions:
Do I really need this?
Do I have room for this?
What if I wait to buy this?
How will I feel tomorrow if I buy this?
He suggested every time you are about to make a purchase you take your phone out, look at and answer each question before you buy the item. If you still think you need/want to buy it, then buy it tomorrow instead of today.
We all know people who have major difficulties spending too much. This might even be you! As I discuss money with people one of the most common things people say to me is how they struggle with shopping and/or over spending.
Trying to use willpower sometimes isn’t enough. Our emotions get in the way.
Having spending rules and systems can keep these emotions in check.
This is why I have been a long advocate for the 24-hour rule for large purchases. If it is a good buy, it will be a good buy tomorrow. If it is not a good buy, you give your rational part of the brain time to think instead of just letting your emotional part of the brain be in complete control in the moment.
This additional action of answering these questions forces your rational brain to get involved in the decision. It might be just what you need to avoid making a spending mistake you will regret.
Our emotions get involved in our financial decisions all of the time. In many ways we are hardwired to do things wrong. Having rules or a systematic way of making choices can help improve our chances of keeping us on the financial track we want to be on.