If you are anything like me, then you have experienced the terrible feeling of buyers remorse very soon after purchasing something that only minutes ago you were in love with. A terrible sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won’t go away and the dreaded thought that you really shouldn’t have traded the money you just did for the object you now own.
Not fun right? I hate it, which is why I needed to find a way to counteract the feeling and be able to spend money without feeling bad about it. In this post I’m going to show you how I get what I want without those regrets.
Money has a pretty powerful effect on most of us. We want more so we can have the things we desire, but then once we have it, we don’t often want to give it up. Retail outlets and clever marketers have found ways to convince us to part with our money, which can help the economy, but parting with your hard earned cash can also cause a certain amount of stress.
In order for you to spend your money, you first need to go through a convoluted process of justification, whereby you convince yourself that the object that you desire is one you absolutely and desperately need. For most of us, the process is so effective and consuming, we end up blinded by the single purpose of acquiring what we want.
Once you have convinced yourself that the only way you can possibly continue in life is to have what you want, you may go through some obligatory steps to find the best deal or possibly even show the (feigned) restraint to wait for a sale. Certainly you get points for effort, but this is a futile struggle and you submit in the end.
People that are poor at using money are very good at justifying the spend, often it isn’t even a painful process. Others that are better with money often endure a fierce battle within themselves before they give in, then regret their actions later.
No matter which category you fall into, it is likely that you will eventually have regrets at some point because once you spend the money you worked so hard for, it is gone forever.
Your emotional intelligence is the thing you fight against when you want something desperately, its the little voice telling you that it isn’t really something that you truly need. Unless you develop your emotional intelligence, you will continue to beat the little voice into submission and be a lot poorer for it over time.
Your emotional intelligence is a muscle and needs regular exercise in order to develop and help in the battle against your desires. Personally I have managed to get better at recognising my needs versus my wants and taken back a little ground in the battle against retail therapy. Now days I can usually satisfy myself by just researching the heck out of something that takes my fancy and be satisfied with that, but sometime the desire is so strong I have no choice but to surrender.
I definitely don’t get off on the sweet pain of denying myself and living an ultra frugal lifestyle, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to hold your ground either. Although inner strength is the best way to combat spending, it needs to be tempered by the recognising your hard work. Sometimes it is worth letting go and treating yourself, why else would you work so hard in the first place?
The Easy Fix
Developing your emotional intelligence can be difficult and it takes time, but there is a pretty simple fix to the immediate problem. It still requires some discipline, but it can help to make things a little easier and stop you from suffering the terrible feeling of post-purchase remorse.
Have you ever wondered why kids are so good at spending their pocket money without a worry in the world? It’s because they know that is what the money is there for.
My wife and I are quite devoted to spending money wisely, so we allocate ourselves a weekly allowance of $50 each. Some people may think that is a lot, others may think it is very little. For us, this amount works well and we get to spend it as we like. The establishment of our ‘pocket money’ system has meant that we never feel guilty about spending money on our wants, because it is money that is allocated to use for this purpose.
While it may sound like a luxury, or perhaps even silly, this system still requires some practice to master. The money needs to cover all of our needs for the week and it is amazing how quickly it can go if you aren’t conscious of your spending. In fact, doing this has made me even more aware of where my money goes because I effectively create a mini budget for myself.
If I want to buy something that costs more than my allowance, I save and adjust my spending habits accordingly. If I want to blow the lot on coffee and lunches at work I can, but that leaves me with nothing to spend on anything else. Whatever I choose to do with my allocated money I really don’t feel guilty anymore because that is what it is designed for.
If you are having trouble finding the balance between good and bad spending habits, why not try giving this a go to see if it works for you. I guarantee it will make you think more about the way you spend at the very least.
Image by Meredith_Farmer