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I am sure you have heard this question before, but I think it needs repeating often if you are going to reach your financial goals.
The One Question That Saves Thrifty People The Most Money And How Not To Take It To Extremes
I give you tips each and every Friday on ways to save money on things from vacations to groceries, to landscaping, and many more areas of life but truly the first question you have to ask yourself before buying a purchase is the one that will save you more money in the long run than any other money saving tip all the money saving bloggers out there could offer you.
What is it?
Do I really need this?
If the answer is no it doesn’t matter how inexpensive the purchase it is you are wasting money.
When I repeat that question “Do I really need this” while out shopping, I put clearance found t-shirts back on the rack, I put yard sale found dishes back down and walk away empty handed, and I don’t even touch the wrapper of the candy bar at the check out.
Sure some of these purchases are small and seem very insignificant but put all together done week after week they can add up to a significant amount of cash that could be used to help our family reach our financial goals.
I also know life would be pretty boring however without the odd little treat now and then, and treats are not generally things we need.
- We don’t need take out (as a foodie that one hurts)
- We don’t need more than 3 outfits (yes this is true, it is just not fun)
- We don’t need more than 1 pair of season appropriate shoes ( gasp!)
- We don’t need chocolate (oh no don’t even go there)
- We don’t need to buy a book (um….nah…that has to be wrong)
Yet I think minimalists, who don’t own more than 3 outfits and one pair of shoes would even agree that life would be boring without the occasional splurge now and again, whether they be materialistic ones like a good book, or experience focused, like a vacation (yep you don’t really need those for survival either).
So How Do You Not Take The Question “Do I Need This?” To the Extreme?
Give yourself a limit for treats and stick to it
Know what your bills are verses what your income is and then decide how much money you can put towards “sanity treats” as I like to call them.
You might find that you have very little to no money for such things in that case do not despair here are 2 ways to make room in your budget for sanity treats .
1. Make use of all the point programs available to earn gift cards to pay for sanity treats
If you spend just 15 minutes a day doing a few tasks in each program, I would think it is fair to say that you could earn $25 to $30 or more that you could earmark for gift cards for eating out or book buying or whatever it is that brings you a bit of a pick me up on a stressful day. (here is how Swagbucks and Bing combined can bring you $30 a month in less than that daily time frame )
2. Take some time to brainstorm and research all the things you can do for free
There are so many things you can do to take a bit of a breather in daily life without spending a dime. I love this article Crystal Paine linked to that contains 35 things you can do to relax and up lift your spirits that don’t cost a dime, plus Crystal’s own 17 additional ways to have fun without spending money. I would add to Crystal’s list my 10 ways to date for zero. Stress release and having a good time with others really doesn’t have to cost money.
So next time you pick up a purchase think to yourself Do I really need this? and if not do I think it worthy of my sanity money? and watch your purchase satisfaction grow and your progress to your financial goals soar.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.