A wide-ranging conversation yields some smart ideas for putting guidelines in place.
We all know there are more ways to spend our money, and demands on us to do so. But figuring out how to make good saving and spending decisions can be challenging.
At our most recent women’s conversation circle, we discussed the ways we make those decisions, and what spending rules or policies we can design and use to guide us when we feel under pressure or impulsive.
Some of us are savers and quite thrifty, while others alluded to a shopping weakness — whether clothes or art — or getting tripped up by big projects while sweating the small stuff. Sometimes we just succumb to “retail therapy” late at night when we feel “deserving” of a treat. Some of us don’t spend a lot on “things” but don’t blink at dropping a wad on travel; others have a “saver vs. spender” relationship with their spouse.
We talked about the need to refocus on “the big picture” of what we want out of life — which isn’t necessarily more stuff.
Tips & Mental Tricks
Several participants suggested mental tricks they use to rein in spending. One imposes an overnight “waiting period” before buying something; another got rid of all but one credit card, and forces herself to enter it manually for every purchase. Others try to weigh wants vs. needs, asking “Is this really necessary?” or “Will this bring me joy?”
More tips included unsubscribing from retailer mailing lists, deleting shopping apps, and making (and sticking to) a shopping list. One found that just paying with cash (instead of whipping out a credit card) can be a surprisingly effective brake on impulse buying.
Putting systems in place can be helpful. One participant suggested broad budget categories: X% for essentials, Y% for charity/donations, and a small Z% for “fun” spending. Another uses an “escrow” account to set money aside monthly for major but irregular payments — things like property tax or homeowners’ insurance.
An idea we all want to steal was one woman’s practice of “digital gifts.” Because most of her friends and family are in decluttering phases, she says, when she sees something that she knows a friend or family member would enjoy, she snaps a photo of it and sends it to them with a note: “This made me think of you.”
Please plan to join us for our next Women’s Conversation Circle on Wednesday, November 17, when we will discuss Charitable Donations and Mindful Giving. We hope to see you then.