When it’s that time of the month for you to receive your paycheck, what’s the first thing that you usually think of? For some, it’s all about juggling the bills that need to be paid while also saving up money for retirement, the kids’ college fund and an emergency fund. For others, it’s simply a matter of allotting money for rent, transportation expenses, and planning which luxury items to buy or indulgences to spend on.
If you fall under the second category, you are not really doing yourself any favors. You’re probably only forced to create a budget out of necessity, otherwise, you won’t have anything to pay for rent.
Another scenario is you having the money to pay all the bills but because of your spending, there really is not much left for savings or all your future needs. Here, we will take a look at how you can actually buy nothing – or at least save money if you really need to buy something.
How Can I Actually Buy Nothing?
Is there such a thing as ‘buying nothing’? In today’s materialistic world, there is probably no one person who hasn’t been enticed by a TV ad to buy something. There is always a new cool gadget to spend hundreds of dollars for, an experience to spend money on, events to be seen and fashion items to wear. This means that buying nothing actually poses a huge challenge.
Whenever you receive your paycheck, you cannot help but think of the next thing that you will be buying with your money. As such, you can consider buying nothing as a motto in saving. The more willpower you have to resist buying stuff, the more you will end up saving. In the same vein, finding out that you can really live with very minimal possessions will give you a simpler, less complicated way of life.
Ways to Save Money by Steering Clear of Purchases
Here are the individual ways by which you can save money by buying nothing, which can be done simply by steering clear of purchases.
If you’re a compulsive buyer, you need retail therapy
Retail therapy is a popular term for those who turn shopping as a hobby. Whenever they feel stressed or unable to cope with whatever life is throwing at them, they use shopping as a way of dealing. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong in indulging in luxury shopping every now and then, doing it habitually will burn a huge hole in your pocket.
If you’re not careful, it might even lead you to be neck-deep in debt. If you’re a compulsive shopper or an impulsive buyer, examine your spending habits and delve deep into the reason why you are using shopping as a tool in the first place. Are all your friends doing it so you think that you also have to? Do you use shopping as a way to reward yourself after all the stresses that you have gone through at work?
Check on the pattern and determine what the root cause is. If it’s simply boredom that is leading you to get into retail therapy, find less expensive hobbies like playing sports or joining clubs where you share the same interest with other individuals. You can also find other less expensive hobbies if you consider shopping as such.
More importantly, leave the money at home so that you can stick to the buy nothing rule if you really feel like you are always giving in to the impulse of buying stuff.
Realize that being in debt is not a good place to be, at all
When you keep on buying stuff that you do not necessarily need, there is a tendency for you to overspend. This is especially true if you are using a credit card for your purchases. If you are living with just enough funds for all your monthly expenses, it is very possible for you to be in debt if you insist on maintaining a lifestyle of endless shopping sprees.
The minute that you realize that you are in way over your head with debts, that is probably when you will stop all that shopping. But there’s really no need for you to reach such a tipping point. By being aware of the consequences of your actions, you can put a stop to overspending by simply buying nothing.
Steer clear of using your credit card
In today’s world which relies mostly on a credit system, the convenience of using that plastic card to pay for purchases has caused millions of people grief. If you don’t watch your credit card spending, you can easily get into debt that is really difficult to get out of. If you must use your credit card, make sure that you have enough funds to pay the full amount once the statement arrives.
If you will keep on paying just the minimum amount, the interest will crop up and you would have to receive those billing statements for a long time without ever really reducing what you owe your creditors. Steer clear of using your credit cards by keeping them in a not-so-easily-accessible place and using them only for real emergencies.
Once you create a budget, stick to it
Budgets are created to be followed. They’re not necessarily something that you can simply ditch at a whim, especially if you are working on a very tight set of funds. Once you create a budget, exercise a lot of self-discipline and stick to it.
If emergency expenses crop up, scrimp on some areas and make the necessary adjustments so that you can still stick to your original budget. If you want, you can actually reward yourself a bit every time you successfully follow your budget for the month. If you were able to stay under budget, reward yourself by buying a little something out of the amount that you were able to save.
Ask yourself if the item falls under the category of need or want
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when shopping is taking the wants into consideration, and sometimes even prioritizing them over the needs. Let’s say that you saw this pricey designer dress on a mannequin. You don’t really have an occasion to wear it to, but you know that it will fit you perfectly. This is definitely considered as a want instead of a need.
Instead of giving in to the temptation of buying the dress, remind yourself that it falls under the category of ‘want’. Purchasing the dress may not even have any room in your budget, so it really is the wisest decision all the way around to not buy it at all.
Another good rule to follow for this is the 30-day rule. When there’s a big-ticket item that falls under the ‘want’ category, only buy it after 30 days. Once that impulse to buy has passed, you might find that you do not really want the item, anyway.
Repair instead of replace
If there are appliances, gadgets or even clothes in your house that can be repaired instead of replaced, this is an excellent way for you to save money by buying nothing.
Rather than outright replacing a non-working item, check if it can still be repaired. Just make sure that the repair costs are not too high, so much so that it makes more financial sense to buy a new one. There are a lot of items under a typical household which can do with some repairs so that you won’t have to spend a single cent to have them working again.
Buy used instead of new, or don’t buy at all
With websites like eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, you can buy almost anything under the sun at lower prices. These items are slightly used or not used at all, if you’re lucky. Don’t head straight to the department store whenever there’s an item that you need or wish to buy. Check these websites first and see if you can purchase used ones for a bargain. If you still have an old model around the house that probably just needs some tender loving care, repair or refurbish it so you don’t have to buy a new one at all.
Check for free or lower-cost alternatives for the items you need
If you must buy something, shop smart. Again, the Internet is your best friend for this. Go comparison shopping and check out the reviews so that you can decide if an item is worth buying or not. There are websites which offer prices which are lower than others. Sign up for newsletters so that you can download discount vouchers or get free shipping. Decide whether you should buy a cheaper model that will not last that long, or invest in a more expensive brand for durability.
By following a mantra of buying nothing, you can make your life less complicated and save your money for more important future or unexpected expenses.