Monday, May 12, 2008

Money Monday!

Helloooo to another week, everyone! It's time once again for Money Monday. The topic this week? Interrogate yourself. Go ahead. It'll be good for you.

We've all been there. We walk in to Target for baby wipes and a quick loaf of bread and then we're leaving. Right. Upon the discovery of six different things we "needed" but didn't know until we got there, we've got a situation on our hands. OK, maybe we did need the batteries, but what about that new picture frame? Or the little table that would be really nice behind the sofa...or the cute gardening shoes...

I think we all find ourselves in this situation. There are a couple of ways I work with it.

1. I have a budget that protects me from over-spending in a set amount of time. I'm sure I'll cover that on a future $M.

2. I ask myself some simple questions. Questions like,

  • Do I need this, or do I want this?

  • Will the store run out of it any time soon?

  • Why do I have to buy it right now?

  • Do I know exactly where I will put it or what I'll use it for?

  • Can I get it somewhere else for less?

  • Would I be spending money on this, when someone else in need could use the money more?

  • Will I be a little bit hesitant to tell Jim I bought it?

  • How many hours did Jim spend away from us at work to pay for it?

And so that's how it goes. If you're thinking that my answering those questions means I end up buying almost nothing, let me explain. I don't make a purchase based on a yes or no answer to those questions, no. These questions are about perspective- and many an impulse has been squashed by them- much to my gladness later. Also, many a purchase has been happily made in clear conscience, to my future joy whenever I use or see it.

There are a lot of things I get without using the friendly interrogation, but I've found when I'm on the fence about something, the perspective I get from this process really helps me make that quick decision in the store so much easier.

Take, this mirror. I saw it the week we moved in to our house at Target. It was by no means a huge purchase, I think the price was $20.99. Jim and I had a sum of money set aside for me to use any way I wanted to furnish and decorate our new house. That was a blast for me, but the fun of spending the set apart money needed to end sometime. I had to decide what I would use it for right away, and what I could wait on and buy a piece at a time with my usual budget money, when normal life and spending habits returned. I knew exactly where I'd put it and it was perfect. I used some interrogation in hopes of gaining good perspective and found it- and waited, for a month, until life had returned to normal. Man I was excited the day I finally got to go to Target and get my mirror- all the more happily because I still loved it, had waited for it and anticipated hanging it for a couple of weeks. Oh, I love it. It's just right. I'm so glad I waited to get it, so I could enjoy the purchase, and not feel like it was one of many things that added up to me spending too much money at once!

This is me, happily lovin', my mirror every time I walk past it...


Ris said...

How cute are you!? Love the mirror. I love the "how many hours did Jim have to work to get this" point. That really puts things into perspective!

Kristen said...

Love it!!

Love that we get to "meet" you in the mirror, too! I love getting a visual as to who I am talking to! :)

I agree about waiting. Then when you do get it, it doesn't fill you with guilt. I always end up feeling guilty for things that I spend money on right away instead of waiting!

Again, another fabulous Money Monday!! :)

anne said...

You do not know how badly I needed to read this today.
I am the queen of impluse pruchases. Just a few weeks ago my husband took all my means of purchasing things had to be done, I was a nut...and anyway, we are trying to figure out a new system, like a weekly allowance or something so I can buy the things we NEED and if I want something to talk about it with him and think about it for a few days before impulse buying it.
Anway, thanks.
Found you through a friend, of a friend of a friend...or something like that. nice to "meet" you :)
There really are few things like your mirror that I can say I patiently waited for, but those few items that I did, are defiately my favs.

Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I've been really good about this lately - turning over a new leaf I guess! ;) That is a great list of questions!

What a great mirror! I always appreciate the things I have to wait for so much more.

I'm still loving Money Mondays!


Kimberly said...

This is such a wonderful tool you have set up Megan. I love the questions you ask. The one that hit home the hardest was how long did hubby have to work so that I can purchase this? What a great question.

Justin and I have a budget, some months we are really good and others we arent. You inspire me to be careful about what I choose to buy and how we spend our money.

Thanks Megan!

Eva said...

You look so great Megan! ... We had Erika and Dave here Sunday night on their way thru to CO for some training. It was fun!

Lisa said...

We're going through a lot of this right now - needs vs. wants. With gas and food prices soaring, we have to watch things a little more. Good advice, and I love the mirror, but mostly your lovely smile :)