At this time of year, spending is no doubt on the rise. Have you ever caught yourself up in the feeling of a spending hangover – when you’ve spent too much and finally feel the full realm of it? Whether you’re reading this at the time of the holidays, or at some other point in the year – the same principles apply. Before you splurge, there are questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you’re on track with your budget, your goals, and your intentions. Below I’m going to give you a list of important questions you need to ask yourself before you splurge!
Before You Even Leave the House
Before you can even tackle the list of questions to ask yourself before you splurge, there are some important questions you need to be asking yourself. I want you to look at the questions below and seriously ask yourself before you even consider spending a dime:
Do You Have a Budget?
Unfortunately, the word ‘budget’ can cause uneasy feelings, anxiety and downright fear. Stop the narrative in your mind where ‘budget’ is a dirty word, and start embracing that it is merely a tool to track where your money is going (think of it like an Apple watch and tracking your steps). You may think that mentally tracking your spending is an effective way of staying on top of your money, but the truth is that just won’t cut it. Budgeting is being actively aware of the amount of money you make, your fixed expenses, and allows you to track your spending and saving habits. If you don’t have a budget, there’s no better time than now to start!
Here are a few resources to help you start budgeting:
Do You Have Any Debt?
Debt is notorious for being an even dirtier word than budget, and we need to cut that narrative as well. Remember – not all debt is accumulated recklessly, and all debt is something that can be paid down. Tackling your debt is something you should be making a priority, to aid in your financial freedom and peace of mind. Debt becomes important when we think about spending – why? Because the amount of debt we have directly affects the amount we’re allocating towards repayment, which in turn affects how much we can spend.
Here are a few resources to help you start tackling your debt:
Do You Have a Financial Plan?
Creating a budget and tackling your debt are merely two aspects when it comes to financial planning. A financial plan is a long term, ongoing process of managing your money, setting financial goals and planning for the future. Having a financial plan incorporates your ‘nows’ and your ‘somedays’, and encompasses your finances as a whole. Putting a financial plan in place will reduce the stress associated with money and help you to plan more long term goals.
Here are a few resources to help you start building your own financial plan:
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU SPLURGE
So, we’ve gotten a few basic important financial topics out of the way. Now, we can get into the list of important questions to ask yourself before you splurge.
Do I REally Need This?
The biggest of the questions to ask yourself before you splurge. We often get caught up in the emotion of spending – the excitement of a sale, the feeling of getting something we really want – heck, even stumbling across something you had been looking for and had no plans of purchasing that day. Take a second to ask yourself whether you really need this, or do you want it because of an external factor (sale, seeing it on someone else, etc.).
Can I Afford THis?
A no brainer, but a serious question you need to ask yourself. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the emotion of buying that we don’t stop and think about whether we can afford it or not. What to do:
Review Your Budget Before You Go Out
Sitting down and looking at your budget before you go out and knowing how much you can spend is a game changer. Make yourself consciously aware of what you’re able to spend that day and don’t go over the limit.
TIP: If you are planning to make a big purchase, you may need to adjust categories of your budget that month. It’s okay to move money around and dip into other categories, but remind yourself that you have less to spend in that other category!
Pull Up Your Bank Account
Before you splurge, pull up your bank account. Putting your finances in front of you can snap you back into reality, and remind you of whether this would be a feasible purchase or not.
Will You Go Into Debt Buying This?
A valid question, and one that needs to be answered. If you are going to put yourself in more debt to buy this, is it going to be worth it? Can you instead save up and purchase at a later date? If it’s something you really want and is worth buying, it will be worth it to wait until you have your finances in order!
ALSO BY CYNSPO: 5 Things You Need to Do With Every Paycheque
How Am I Doing?
Several studies have been conducted on the correlation between sadness and spending – and the fact is, we tend to spend more when we’re sad. Do you find yourself hitting the shops when you’re sad? Or maybe online shopping whenever you feel bored or unhappy with your life? I know I’ve been guilty too many times of browsing Homesense aimlessly with the hopes of finding something that will change my life.
So, to combat that, you need to ask yourself how you’re doing. If you feel like you’re about to make a huge splurge, take a quick second to check in with yourself emotionally. How are you doing? Is something going on in your life right now? Taking a few moments to check in with yourself and explore those emotions can save you from making a purchase fueled by emotion.
Is This An Impulse Buy or FOMO Purchase?
One of the more sobering questions to ask yourself before you splurge. The words SALE and LIMITED EDITION can induce an adrenaline like response within us. How many times have you found yourself yearning for something simply because it said it was on sale? Ask yourself if you’re buying this because you really want it, or if you’re simply buying it because it’s on sale and you’re afraid of missing out.
My sister recently sprinkled a little bit of wisdom on me the last time we were at the grocery store. I had been debating about grabbing something or not, stating I wasn’t sure if they would have it the next time I came, etc. She said “Cynthia, it’s the grocery store. They will always have things. We don’t live very far from it either, and can always come here. And, if they run out of it, we’ll try something new or just make it ourselves.” Remember – you can always go back and get it later, it doesn’t need to be an impulse buy.
Do I Have the Space for THis?
Do you? Take a quick second to remember where you live – will this item fit nicely? This is one of the more practical questions to ask yourself before you splurge. Are you purchasing your 100th cup and your cupboard is already bursting? Will you be throwing out your old couch to make space for this new one? Sometimes, we simply don’t have the space for something new, and sometimes we need to make adjustments to our living spaces to make it work. Check in with yourself regarding your current living space before you decide to bring something home that isn’t going to fit.
Can I Find THis At A Better Price?
Will this item be going on sale in the near future? Is this item currently at it’s best price right now? Sometimes, waiting to make a purchase can be the difference in you paying full price or snagging the sale price. If it’s something you want, it may be worth waiting for it to go on sale!
It also might be worth shopping around to find the same item for less, or to find a similar item that is priced better. Take a second to ask yourself if you can find this for a better price elsewhere.
Am I Only Buying This Because it’s on Sale?
The word SALE has an huge impact on the way we view making a splurge or not. Maybe we weren’t going to buy the item at all, but feel compelled to now that it’s on sale. Ask yourself if you would regularly be purchasing something like this if the words SALE weren’t attached to it. You can also go through and ask yourself any of the above questions pertaining to the item on sale to see if it’s really a splurge worth making.
Another thing to consider is that sometimes we have our heart set on something. We’ve done the research, made room in the budget, and want to commit to making that purchase. Then, we see something similar on sale. It might not be the same item, but it’s on sale. Splurging on the cheaper item can feel good in the moment, but if it’s not what we wanted or quite what we needed, we can end up feeling resentful and unsatisfied afterwards. Sticking to our original plan and purchasing an item of higher price or quality initially can be the better option in the long run, and reduce the feelings of regret and dissatisfaction.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Splurge: Make You’re On Track To Being More Intentional With Your Spending
The second you decide to sit down and become consciously aware of your finances is the day you start to become more intentional about your spending and the habits you’ve built. Spending money isn’t ‘bad’ or ‘frowned upon’, and neither is treating yourself or splurging. Making more intentional choices about your spending gives you more financial freedom to make those splurges – ones you can actually afford. Start checking in with yourself today to make sure you revisit the list of questions to ask yourself before you splurge, and watch your financial habits transform in front of you!