I never really considered myself a spender until I started bringing in a paycheck.
There’s something about having thousands of dollars come in each month and having nothing to show for it at the end of the month that makes you question your commitment to saving money!
But the first step in getting past a bad habit is to address it, and the second step is to do something about it.
Enter: the “Want List,” which I now proudly hang on my refrigerator.
It’s Like a Check Out Cart Without the Pressure
No doubt this idea came from how fun it is to shop on Amazon and make a list of all the things you need or want. Clicking “Add to cart” is incredibly therapeutic… until you scroll down to see the total cost. Instead of keeping this list on Amazon, I decided to put it down on paper. For the past six months, whenever I want to purchase something that costs more than $20, it goes on the list for my husband and I to think about it and decide whether or not it’s important enough to budget for.
Over time, I’ve found that I lose my desire for an item or that it’s not really worth the money, so it comes off the list. Money = saved!
Right now I have two things I’d like to buy: a chlorine-eliminating shower head shower head and a food processor. Both of these items have been on the list for over three months, meaning it’s very likely that I will get and use these items frequently.
The “Want List” Gives You Time to Think It Through
Impulse purchases are murder on your budget. If it gets really bad, sometimes you forget what you’ve bought, leaving you scratching your head when it comes time to assess your savings account. That’s such an awful feeling and it spells disaster for your long-term financial goals.
When you have a “Want List,” though, you are constantly checking in with your desire for an item. It builds up an excitement and desire for it, or quickly shows you that you don’t really want or need it. Either way, you can be more sure that your money will be well spent or well saved. It’s not always about being frugal, it’s about making the most of your money in accordance with your lifestyle.
Do you make a list before you purchase an item? How long does it have to be on the “Want List” before you’re okay with buying it?