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« Free Money Finance March Money Madness, Round 2, Posts 29-32 | Main | How to Find a Professional Financial Advisor »

March 12, 2010

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My worst impulse is fast food. I work at a job where I'm required to drive around town all day, and I don't get a chance to stop of at the office much. This means I need to eat on the road, and I just can't seem to stay away from the fast food. It adds up after a while too! If you figured 6 bucks a day for lunch, that's a lot of money at the end of the year. Hopefully I can curb this soon.
Thanks for the post, I liked it a lot.

Our monthly budget is way below $5,000, and I definitely don't want to ask my spouse about any purchases $20+. That figure is way too low. Otherwise it was a good article.

Good article. I agree on all points. My wife and I set a limit of $100 for purchases before we have to talk and agree. It was kind of an arbitrary choice that just seemed right. I've personally used the tactic of delaying purchases and it helps me from continually buying the next gadget I desire.

Great advice! I particularly like the advice about waiting before buying.

Since I'm a single parent, I can't rely on another person to keep my spending in check.

Instead, I use a really tight budget and automatic bank transfers that dump all of my paycheck into savings except for what we absolutely require to live through the month.

So to buy anything extra, I have to deliberately take the $ out of savings. This setup makes me stop and think before spending as much as $100, and also takes time before I can spend it, both of which are helpful in keeping me from spending unnecessarily.

I liked the reminder to wait a week before making a big purchase.

My husband and I pretty much talk about all our purchases in passing since I make sure that we are the only ones using our credit card, but we rarely make ourselves wait a week before buying things we want with our "fun" money. Good idea.

The worst impulse spending that I have seen by others is that they often foolishly think that by buying some item that everyone recognizes is "the best", "the most attention getting", "the most expensive brand" or "the most image enhancing", that people that know them will have a much higher opinion of them, i.e. it's a big ego booster that they seem to need.

Instead it really has the opposite effect completely, many people think "how foolish", "who are they trying to impress", "they must have a low self image" etc., etc.

Once you understand this and you are happy in your own skin you realize that you don't have to impress anyone, and how much more satisfaction and pleasure you can get by making a really smart buy and obtaining a great bargain. I grew up in a working class family in England during WWII, then after 50+ years in the USA found myself quite wealthy, but get a great kick out of finding an incredible bargain sometimes on eBay when nobody outbids me. Today for example a shirt arrived in the mail, it retails for about $125 in the best department stores, it was as new, fits perfectly, just dry cleaned, and cost $9.99. My 49 year old daughter (with a $2.25M investment portfolio) was showing me some books today that she bought at a Thrift store for about $1 each. They were all out of print and will sell on amazon.com for between $25 and $45, sometimes even more. My other daughter (with an IRA over $1.5M) is now a stay at home Mom with two recently adopted babies, telecommutes to her old job 250 miles away, and also makes a lot by selling items on eBay that she picks up at Thrift stores. I'm very proud of them both even though they both sometimes spend money more freely than I do. People have kidded me that when I open my wallet the moths fly out!

Thank you for the suggestion on having your kids wait a number of days equal to their age. That seems like a reasonable thing to ask and teaches them patience, while delaying pleasure. Often, like you said, they will decide they really didn't want that thing they would have purchased on a whim.

You might want to recheck your site policies
The same article is already posted on this company's own website

Johnson --

I know. Marotta writes syndicated columns for newspapers and websites. He sends me an article every week, and if I like it, I run it. He also posts the same piece on his site.

Great insight and I like reading about your personal examples. However the numbers seem a little off, such as consulting for something over $25.00.

It depends. For some people, $25 is a totally negligble amount. For me and my wife, in the financial position we're in with two kids, $25 is a pretty reasonable line, and it's the one where we do discuss with one-another something.

I've put off a couple of big purchases recently, forcing myself to do more research, then research again. Twice I came to the conclusion after a few weeks that my money would be better spent elsewhere. There are a few times that I haven't done that and really should have.

This is a good post, but the problem I have with these kids of posts is they assume people are retional, when most of us aren't. In fact, I think it's fair to say no one is completely rational with their money all the time.

Posts like this fail to recognize people overspend for emotional reasons. People who grew up poorer relative to their peers tend to overspend in adulthood as a way of making up for that.

Obviously, moving toward financial discipline requires overspenders to move outside their comfort zones. But that is easier when the emotional motivations behind the overspending are understood.

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