What happens when you just *want* things?
We are constantly bombarded with ads—radio, television, billboard, magazine, and more. These ads are beautiful, colorful, and eye-catching: Everything they are supposed to be because their job is to lure us in, make us want the product, make us believe that we need it.
Several problems arise, including space, necessity, and budget.
Not many of us live in a house big enough to store everything that catches our eye. It’s best to have a plan for anything new coming into your house.
When you see something you want, ask yourself if you really need it. I know this sounds simple, but it is important. Of course you want it, but do you *need* it?
I have a magnet on my fridge to remind me I shouldn’t buy everything that comes across my path. It says, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”
There are times when we do need to purchase items—a new sweater for the season, a new coffee pot, or shoes for the kids. The key is to determine needs versus wants. If you do need to buy something—especially something to replace a previously purchased item—get rid of the older product.
Previously used items can be donated to charity and go on to help someone in need. Charitable donations can also give you a tax break. Be sure to ask your accountant or tax preparer for details on how to make this work for you.
Or have a garage sale. Get the neighbors involved to maximize the event. Then use the money to start a Christmas fund or place it in a college savings account for the kids. Saving the money instead of spending it serves a double duty: It keeps more stuff from cluttering your house (and your life) with unnecessary items and helps avoid future debt.
Dave Ramsey’s envelope system is a great way to manage the monthly budget. I won’t lie to you and tell you that it’s easy, but it is worth it. The theory is to determine what you need for each month for groceries and other expenses, then place the cash money in envelopes labeled for each item. Even if you only keep one envelope for your monthly mad money, the key is when it’s gone, it’s gone. According to Ramsey, it is much more painful to turn lose of cash than it is to swipe a card. Spending cash instead of using cards will help reign in over-spending.
If you are really serious about not using debit cards and credit cards, one surefire way to keep them from becoming payment is to freeze them in a bowl of water. Then you have a lot of thawing to do if you want to go on a buying binge.
But controlling spending is a lot like a diet. It takes a great deal of willpower and self-discipline. Don’t forget there are times when you will splurge and spend more than you had intended. Don’t let that one time be the demise of your hard won new spending plan. Take a deep breath, then set yourself back on the right course.
And like a diet, don’t deny yourself completely. If you do, you run the risk of completely failing. Remember: a little spending can go a long way with careful planning and discipline. You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
For more on Dave Ramsey and his envelope system visit: http://www.daveramsey.com/article/dave-ramseys-envelope-system/lifeandmoney_budgeting
Want to know more about taking charitable donations as a tax deductions? Visit: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Eight-Tips-for-Deducting-Charitable-Contributions
Need tips to have a great garage sale? Visit: http://www.yardsalequeen.com/yardsale.htm