Last time, we discussed mastering the Needs vs Wants distinction as the #1 Key To Saving More Money every year.
Go back and check it out if you haven’t checked it out already – it’s worth it!
In it, I asked the question many of you were wondering as you read about focusing on Needs and resisting the urge to buy all your Wants…”Won’t I be living a boring lifestyle, continually denying myself the things that make me happy??!!”
The quick answer is no as we’re going to do everything we can so you continue to live an enjoyable life AND save more money!
There’s a lot of research out there about the concept of Willpower. Willpower is the ability to hold off on things…to essentially wait a little while before giving in to demands put on you (by others or by yourself). See where I’m gong here…well hopefully you will shortly.
There was a really interesting study done on children quite awhile ago that studied Willpower. Basically, kids were left in a room with delicious snacks (cookies, marshmallows) and instructed to wait to eat them. They could have them…but they had to wait while the experiment leader left the room. If they waited, they actually got to have TWO treats.
Now as you can imagine…most of the kids were beside themselves having to hold off on devouring these snacks! Some did. Some didn’t.
The interesting part is when they checked up on these kids in future years, they found the ones that had demonstrated Willpower as children demonstrated Willpower well into their 40’s. As you can imagine, Willpower helps in most areas of our lives – choosing health over smoking, studying and doing well in school over playing and watching TV, managing money and choosing saving over frivolous spending.
Check out more about the study here if you are interested: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower-gratification.pdf
As I mentioned in Part 1, most of the people trying to sell you stuff understand that many of you have poor Willpower and do all they can to exploit it.
Just think about that for a minute…no Willpower and you are left at the mercy of all those people trying to sell you stuff (most of which you do not Need I remind you).
So do you want to be at these people’s mercy? Do you constantly want to have little to no money at the end of every year? Do you want to work for the rest of your life??
No? Well then you need to start practicing building your Willpower (because that’s the cool part, like a muscle, you can build it if you start using it more often!)
Sleep on it. I recommended that in Part 1 and I say it again. When you find something you want to buy, wait 24 hours before you buy it. Now if you are going to a 1-day sale or you’ve done your research ahead of time and you know it’s a great deal (on something you truly need) or you are not in your hometown…exceptions apply.
But for the most part, even in some of these situations, it pays to wait (ever bought that must-have souvenir while away because you figured you’d never see it again…only to see scores of them at the airport gift shop or worse, at your local Dollar Store when you got home?! Not to mention, mostly we put these souvenirs on a shelf somewhere and never look at them again).
And believe it or not, you can still live a great life AND exercise your Willpower. I’ve mentioned that I drive a late model vehicle that I love that has all the bells and whistles…and I paid $30-40k less than some of you did for a similar vehicle with a fancier name (and less warranty). People walk into my house and are instantly impressed…I have a beautiful home, a designer kitchen and a hot tub…and this was an example where I utilized Willpower, continuing to shop around and not get caught up in crazy multiple offers and got more house for a better price as a result.
I travel 1-2 times a year to exotic locations…but I plan these trips, utilize points and go in off seasons. I can do this because I regularly sleep on other nice-to-have purchases that I know I would stop even thinking about 3-5 days after I bought it…and I use my Willpower in choosing my trips to begin with.
I’m not showing off here…I’m making a point that you don’t have to live a boring life to Save. You can still have great stuff that you love AND save money regularly for your future.
Utilizing Willpower takes time and practice. You have to understand your longer term goals for your money and create a plan.
I like to buy things too…but I’ve even turned this into a money-saving adventure. I like to shop at Costco for a couple of key reasons that fit right in with what goes on in the whole shopping process AND my Saver mentality.
First, you never know what you are going to find at Costco…so it’s like an adventure EVERY visit. This hits on the exciting parts of shopping, that we all like to do (adventure, fun, intrigue and the buying process when I do find something I like that appeals to most of us).
On the same token, Costco is notorious for selling brand-name things for far less than retail. I have found dress pants, work-out clothes, boots, home appliances, down jackets and lots of fun, fancy foods for parties and entertaining…all 30-70% less than what I would have paid in retail stores!!
Now, don’t fall into the Costco trap (go in for 3 things, leave after spending $500!!). You still have to use some Willpower…but I find that 8/10 times, I can go to Costco and buy something new without the guilt associated with buying it at regular retail prices because I know I saved money.
These are just a few strategies that I use to exercise my Willpower, Save $ and live a fun, adventurous, decadent lifestyle.
If you want to learn more about how YOU can do it too…contact me and put 'Saving AND Spending' in the Subject line.
And remember…sleep on it!