One of the most difficult habits to overcome is spending money on things that don’t make a lot of sense. Sometimes, we tell ourselves that we are buying something because it’s a “great deal.” Other times, we convince ourselves that we really want something. (Or worse, that we “need” it.) Perhaps the worst excuse for buying something, though, is that you want the credit card rewards.
Rather than just spending money to spend money, it’s better if you buy things that make sense.
Why Do You Want That?
There are a number of gimmicks out there, trying to convince you that you “need” something. Or, barring actual need, that you want something. But what will you do with it? And is it really worth putting on your credit card? If you don’t pay it off immediately, you might end up paying interest on it. So you really want to pay interest on a laser pointer or some other useless gadget?
Before you buy something, ask yourself why you want to get it. You should try to figure out what you will use the item for, and how often it is likely to be used. If you want something because it looks cool, or because your neighbor has it, it might be a good idea to rethink your assessment.
Clearly, if you need something (really need it), buying it might not be a bad thing. However, if you merely want it, you should examine your options — and your motives — more closely. Figure out why you want it. If you enjoy playing video games, and know that you will spend hours on the game, it might be worth the purchase. However, buying something that you will be bored of after a couple of hours might be a waste of money.
Imposing a Personal Waiting Period
Even on things you think you “need”, it can be a good idea to impose a purchase waiting period. A three to four day period on things you need can help you decide if really need something. Take a full 30 days to consider whether or not you want something, and you might discover that what you thought would be so cool, really isn’t.
A waiting period is a good way to save money, and ensure that you are only buying things that make sense for you. Before you make a purchase, think about your values, and your money goals. If the purchase isn’t in line with what’s important to you, or if it doesn’t help you keep on track with your financial goals, think twice about buying it.
It’s nice to get the reward points, but you can get into debt trouble even with a good credit card. Instead, buy only what makes sense in your life, and only use your credit card to buy things that you would purchase anyway. And be sure to pay off your balance each month.