I realized a few months back/maybe it was the Holy-Spirit that made me realise that I was a shopaholic living in denial. If someone had told me I was a shopaholic I would have out-rightly denied it but then I realized that there was just something that would make me come up with reasons for buying something. I remember watching Confessions of a Shopaholic and laughing at some scenes because I could easily relate. The temptation calls when I walk past a store and I just want to take a peek. Or is it when I’m going to a grocery store and plan to pick just bread or something and come out with 10 things or less.
So, the only way I could get the books I ogled during my spare time or get something on my wishlist was save up for it. Here are 6 techniques I picked up as I began my adulting stage.
1. Have a goal: Thing is, if you don’t have a goal for what you want, your wish list will just suffer and you’ll end up with an empty kolom or savings account. I remember when I wanted to get the iPad mini and wrote it down among other things I wanted/needed. It wasn’t going to be a luxury for me. It was a priority and not for show. I knew majority of books I would be reading would have to be in form of ebooks and I couldn’t afford to take it for granted. Same rule applied when I wanted to buy my DSLR. As for my phone and tablet, I went for an Apple tablet/product because the last time I had an iTouch, it lasted for 3 years even after the glass had broken. I can be quite careless with gadgets so I made up my mind from the beginning after doing my research. Quality over Quantity. Choose wisely. I buy something with the hope that I wouldn’t be buying that same product in two years time or more.
Also, check for the cost of whatever you’re saving for and compare prices. When you have a figure, it makes it easy for you to save towards that end.
2. Cash at hand: I realized that whenever I take a particular amount of money with me or determine not to use my card, it’s easier to mellow on my shopaholic tendencies. I’m restricted. If the urge to buy stuff tugs, I remember that I have enough clothes to manage and it’s not like I’m going for a fashion competition. Besides, when you commit yourself to giving out in God’s house or contribute to feeding kids in need, you’ll realise you just need to spend wisely.
3. Make a list: I usually like to make a list of what I want to get before stepping out. I realized that the times when I don’t make a list and step out, I tend to buy the things that I’m not supposed to and forget the most important things.
4. Save above your goal: It’s usually advisable to save more than what you need because anything could happen. Saving for the exact cost isn’t safe and prices change. Besides, any change obtained could be used for the rainy day. You never know, surprises could come up and you don’t want to be caught spending out of your hard earned savings.
5. Don’t spend all your salary or pocket money: Always leave something behind. It could be range from 20-50% of your income, depending on how much strength you have to save.
6. Sacrifice-Eat and dress wisely: I realized that when I eat out, I spend more. Rather than buy cups of Starbucks or coffee everyday which can be quite pricey if you do that, why not make your own coffee and buy a flask that could keep it warm? Sometimes I don’t even take coffee and just fill my water bottle with water since that’s safer and healthier. As for food, buy a good food flask to keep your food and you’ll see the amazing improvement on your savings. I remember when I had to go for my clinical placements at the hospital and their foods were expensive even with the discount for staff. I had to wake early to prepare something for lunch or I would just have a good filling breakfast that morning which would last me till evening. I literally forced myself to become a morning person with breakfast when I was hardly one.
As for clothes, you can decide how you spend money on clothes. Quarterly or yearly? Ready made, cut and sew or mixed? Strategise how you can manage your wardrobe in such a way that would make you look dashing and go easy on your back account. I could share tips on this specific aspect as time goes on.
And finally, the above are just things I learned. It still depends on you and how much whatever you’re saving for means to you. But just be careful it’s not beginning to make you cold towards those that need help or contributing to God’s house for the sake of the gospel and for Love sake. For God is truly the One who can supply all our needs no matter how much we strive to save.
I do hope these strategies have been helpful. And if you have any in mind to share with me, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment so we can learn from you.