I heard a great quote today that I wanted to pass along. It was said in relation to overcoming an addiction but I thought that it sounded like a golden nugget of financial advice as well.
“If you don’t want to slip, don’t go where its slippery.”
So simple yet so profound, I love quotes like this.
In my eyes this quote is telling me that if I don’t want to spend money, don’t go to places that will make me want to spend money. Every once in a while I get the impulse to just go to a store and look for stuff. Most of the time I don’t have a real need for anything, just a desire to take my credit card to go look around. Can you see how dangerous that is? Nothing about it is in line with my financial goals and there are red flags all over those feeling. These are the times when I can tell that I’m in the most danger of slipping, so these are the times when its most critical to stay away from the places that might trick my into buying something that I actually don’t need.
Marketers are good at what they do. Their job is to get you to buy their products whether you need them or not and they have a lot more experience than you do. So it’s often best to leave them alone and not even try to play their game. Shopping has become a pass time event for so many people in our society and they know it. They bank on that pass time, literally. So the fewer opportunities you can allow them to have access to your thoughts the less access they will have to your wallet.
“But what about the basic shopping trips?” one might ask, “I have to be in a slippery situation every time I go grocery shopping, don’t I?”
If you find that you can’t help but splurge at the grocery store every time you go there then grocery shopping (a necessity) can be rather slippery. But there are ways to make it less dangerous for your wallet.
- Never go shopping hungry
- Pay only in cash (actually not something we do but I’ve heard it helps immensely)
- Set a hard budget amount that you’re not allowed to exceed
- Try shopping at Aldi where there’s less options to splurge on
- Shop at the busiest time of the week so that you want to get out faster and spend less time browsing
- Try shopping at different times each week to avoid getting stuck in a routine that will make you want to buy the same products out of habit whether you need them or not
- Only buy things that are on your shopping list
As you can see, there are things that we can do to make a necessary slippery situation much more manageable. The ideas above are ways that we can add traction for ourselves as we proceed. It’s like putting chains on your tires when you have to drive through a snowy mountain pass. It might not eliminate all of the risk but it does help make the path ahead of you less treacherous.
Take home lesson? No matter bad habits you might be trying to overcome, identifying your triggers and staying as far away from them is imperative.
Good luck saving!