Mindfulness is the key to successful spending. One of the ways in which you can be more mindful when spending money is to pause and ask yourself a few questions before purchasing something. Here's an example of what I mean based on a purchase that, to me, was a big deal.
Is this purchase in line with your values?
In order to make the best financial decision for yourself, you need to know what your values are.
I was recently debating a purchase of a one-of-a-kind custom made jean jacket I'd had my eye on for a few weeks. It would be the most amount of money I'd ever spend on an article of clothing, so I had to get clear on whether or not it aligned with my values.
One of my values in being connected to my femininity and supporting art – which I express through clothing and making my online brand beautiful and functional. I'm usually frugal with my fashion, but I'll splurge on an interesting piece once in a while.
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Another one of my values is supporting small businesses – especially if they are run by women. The jacket would support a small retailer and the magazine curator who picked it out. I personally know the owner of the magazine and I wanted to give her some of my business in support.
So, in this case, the jacket did align with things that I felt was important to my life. Check.
Will you actually use it?
Part of the issue with the consumerist society we live in is that we buy things we don't actually need or use. I did, in fact, need a jacket. However, I didn't actually need a $200 custom made one so the next question became "Will I actually use it?"
The answer was a resounding yes. I have a speaking engagement I'd like to wear it to. I'm traveling to some colder places this year where I'll need outerwear. Quite frankly, I'd been obsessing over all the ways I'd wear it for over two weeks.
By the way, giving yourself time to debate a purchase is also an excellent idea. I didn't buy it as soon as I saw it. I had to marinade on it.
Will it screw up your finances?
So the jacket aligns with my values and I'm actually going to use it. Awesome. Now, can I actually afford it without screwing with my budget?
In my case, the answer was yes. I'd still be able to save toward my goals and pay my bills with no issue.
Granted, I work for myself. Had the answer been "No" I wouldn't have purchased the jacket at that moment, but I would have asked myself "How can I afford this?"
So the next time you find yourself debating a purchase, give yourself some breathing room and ask yourself these questions before spending your money.