While sitting in the hair salon waiting to spend more money than I should to have my roots done and my hair trimmed, I read and article in July 10th edition of Ladies’ Home Journal entitled “Why You Spend More Than You Think” by Sharlene Johnson. Johnson provides insights as to why people spend money. However, as I sat there reading the article I realized that five of her points hit closer to home than I wanted to admit.
1. Keep your hands to yourself – This is so much like me. I go to the store intending to get just the items on my list but I pass by the designer shoes and cannot resist trying them on – – just to see how they look. The more I look at how wonderfully skinny they make my legs look the more I try to justify the purchase. Then of course I do not end up just with the new pair of Jimmy Choo’s but I must go have a pedicure because why bother to wear such gorgeous shoes if my toenails are not perfect. According to Johnson’s article, the longer you hold the item the more likely you are to purchase it. So do not touch it!
2. Get rid of temptation – This is another point Johnson makes that really hit home with me. I probably have the equivalent of a small forest delivered to my home each week in the form of catalogs ranging from home items, clothing, shoes and decorations. My email account is just as full of tempting offers and coupons. Much like a Weight Watcher’s program for my wallet, I canceled all of my catalogs and emails to remove the temptation to spend money.
3. Do not be enticed by free trials – My friends know that the easiest way to get me to buy anything is to give me a free sample. I love getting samples of everything from makeup and perfume to candles and snacks. In order to get my “freebies”, I will often purchase other items. Johnson refers to free trials as those you receive to try such things as book clubs, credit monitoring, movie rentals, etc. Those apply to me as well because as with samples I think free trial is a “freebie” so I try it but forget to cancel it after the free trial ends. I agree with Johnson, do not accept a free trial unless you know for sure you will cancel it. This also applies to products that are shipped “automatically every 90 days” – – I intended to cancel that skin care line for almost a year before I actually did.
4. Unplug yourself from the tube – Most Americans probably watch more television than they should and I agree with Johnson’s article that it could make us want more material items. Rather than craving the material items I see on television shows, I lose my money on those infomercials and home shopping networks. When I had surgery last year, I was home for eight weeks during October and November. That was a truly devastating time for my budget and bank account because the home shopping networks were selling Christmas presents and Christmas decorations twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Now those channels are blocked from my cable box and infomercials are treated as NR-mom in my house.
5. Be prudent with your plastic – This is true for all of use because the overuse of credit is a problem most Americans face. For me, it is overuse of my debit card. Having that debit card in my possession means I have easy access to my money. I lost my debit card several months ago and was forced to use cash (yes it does still exist) for several weeks until I received my new debit card. I spent far less during those weeks because I had to have the cash to zip through Starbucks, which meant more planning. I leave my debit card at home now most days and find that I spend less than when I carry it with me.
Johnson, Sharlene. “Why You Spend More Than You Think” (Ladies’ Home Journal, July 10, 2010)