You’re in the store or you’re browsing online. You’re about to waste some money. You might not know that you’re going to waste that money, but you probably have a good idea of what’s about to happen. Your inclination might be to hold on to that cash, but then a little voice speaks up and it tells the money-waster inside you exactly what it wants to hear.
We all justify bad money decisions in the moments leading up to those bad decisions. How? By telling ourselves lies. What lies do you use on yourself?
I need this new version, because the old one I have isn’t good enough anymore.
Technology is great, don’t get me wrong. But technology is ever advancing, and in order to make money on that technology (or make stupid money, if you’re Apple) you need to convince people that yesterday’s great thing is nothing compared to today’s great thing. If you’re feeling enticed to drop a lot of money on the latest and greatest version of a perfectly functional thing you already have, just take a moment and ask yourself if you really need to spend that money.
This is more expensive than the other options, but that’s because it’s a higher quality and I’ll never have to replace it.
Some products come with lifetime guarantees. Some are just really expensive. Be realistic when you’re thinking about buying the most expensive option on the market. Why is it so expensive? Does the price difference outweigh the difference in quality? Don’t just assume that the most expensive is the best. Sometimes it is, and a lot of times it isn’t.
This is going to save me so much time!
Specialized single-function items can seem really tantalizing. “This is going to make splitting mangos so much easier!” But you really need to slow down and consider how much actual use certain “time-saving” tools are going to get. Is it worth the money and the space it will inevitably take up?
This deal is too good to pass up.
No deal is ever too good to pass up if you don’t need (or even want) the item being sold. Don’t let yourself be blinded by sales. Spending money on something you don’t need (no matter how low the cost) is a waste.
New is always better than used.
There’s something about a product in its original, sealed packaging that’s comforting to many consumers. The thing is, lightly used products are usually significantly cheaper. Don’t let your bias towards newness become an excuse to waste money. Always consider previously used alternatives when available.
Name brand means higher quality.
As your parents probably told you once, “Store brand is just as good.” That’s still usually the case. There are always going to be instances where certain name brand items don’t have a suitable cheaper alternative and that’s fine. The key is to not just assume that name brands are always better.
Buying in bulk always saves you money.
Buying in bulk often saves you money, but not always. Don’t buy an enormous amount of anything unless you’re positive that it won’t go to waste and that you can comfortably store all of it. If you’ve got a reflex that tells you to buy the largest quantity available of something, slow down and verify that you are actually going to use all of it. The price per unit might be lower on bulk purchases, but it’s a wasted savings if you don’t use it all.
I’ve been good – I earned this.
“Good” is a bit of a relative term. It basically means whatever you want it to mean. The danger of using the “I’ve been good” excuse when splurging is that you can really use it whenever. If you want to reward yourself, set concrete goals with a particular reward in mind. “If I do X, I can have Y.” If you’re creating a justification on the spot for making a purchase, that’s usually a sign you shouldn’t be making that purchase.
I can’t live without this!
Yes you can. If you don’t need it to live, you can live without it. Spending and emotion are tied very tightly, especially for people who struggle with money. When you feel yourself getting emotionally tied to a potential purchase, step back. Don’t say no, just give it 24 hours. Let the emotions dissipate a bit and then come back to it. Maybe you’ll still want it, but you’ll probably recognize that you don’t need it anymore.