3 Life Reservoirs: How to avoid clouding your Financial Goals

 It’s Saturday afternoon. You’re in the mall just browsing, no real plans to buy a thing, no special event on the horizon, but on your stroll you stumble upon the most beautiful dress you have ever laid your eyes on. What should you do?

As you get a little closer you realize the dress is literally the only one left in your size. You cannot resist. You grab it and dash off to the fitting room. As you are slipping into it you can tell it’s going to fit like a glove. You zip it up and face yourself in the mirror. It. Fits. Perfectly.

You take a twirl or two which makes the price tag rustle. You glance at it mid twirl which stops you dead in your tracks. $249….but there is a red slash through that and handwritten underneath is a second price $199. Whew! You breathe a small sigh of relief, “It’s on sale!” You take a brief moment to ponder this potential, unplanned, unbudgeted, impulse purchase before heading to the cash register, new dress in hand.

Does this scenario sound familiar? *raise your hand if it has happened to you too* In fact, this happens to women in all the time! Over 90% of people admit to making impulse buys. Budgets go out the window, financial goals, and future plans all drop off the face of the earth. The only thing that matters in that moment is that you look absolutely gorgeous in that dress.

(Feel free to swap our dress example with a bag, shoes, or unexpected vacation because you received a Facebook tag about a flight deal.) I’m sure many of you have noticed those this year.

We quickly forget that every unexpected dollar we spend is a direct deduction from our goal for financial freedom. Of course we should have fun funds, and shopping budgets and the occasional latte, but where do you draw the line between Financial Fun and Financial Fail?

For many that are trying to get their finances on track, this type of unplanned purchase would derail their financial progress, and did you know that 88% of impulse buying is motivated by the simple fact that an item is on sale?*

Obsessions with new “stuff” not only keeps many struggling financially, It also keeps our homes extremely overcrowded.

How do we take ahold of ourselves and our impulse to buy?

3 life reservoirs:

  1. Routinely review your financial goals. If you know that every Friday you review your financial goals those unplanned weekend shopping trips should become much less frequent.
  2. Understand your wants vs. your needs. Spending where it matters in the short term will help you learn how to prioritize long term. If you know you need new brakes, that new dress becomes less desirable .
  3. Stop and Wait. Love the dress? Don’t want to leave without it, worried that you’ll regret not buying it? Wait! Go home, sleep on it overnight, ask the store to put it on hold. There are few things you will ever find the urge to go back and purchase once you’ve left the store and had significant time to think more clearly about it.

Don’t allow “new stuff” to cloud your financial goals, less really is more.

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The Finance Bar is a personal finance suite helping women and couples achieve financial wellness through coaching, education, and an innovative learning hub on wheels. Creator Marsha Barnes is a Certified Financial Social Worker, Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named the 2018 Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category.

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