Buy only what you need

I don’t love shopping, so I’ve never really gone on a shopping spree. Instead, I tend to spend money a little at a time. $50 here, $40 here. The most I’ve ever spent (not counting furniture) in one place is probably $200. When I was working full-time, those small purchases were fine. In fact, they were often made during the course of my work day – lunch errands to the mall or a clicking through to an online sale from an email I received.

As I’m building a business and don’t have a steady income, I am very conscious of my spending. I’m only buying what I truly need. This is not a novel concept, but it is a simple way to help anyone save money – whether you are doing it out of necessity so you can pay bills or by choice because you want to build up your savings.

My husband gives budgeting seminars around San Diego County and other than food, beer and sunglasses (he breaks/loses them often), he rarely spends money. Since I’m responsible for making sure we have clothes and food and that our home looks somewhat presentable, I do the bulk of the spending in our house. I have always been fairly frugal: using coupons, bringing lunch and using other easy tricks to save money. But, if I was walking through Target and saw a cute top for Avery or an accent rug for my kitchen, I would buy it without a second thought.

Now, I purposely don’t look at the clothes or the home decor when I’m at Target to buy necessities. I don’t open any of my shopping emails. I don’t casually click on to see if they have anything in my size on sale. I just avoid the temptation to spend money on things I don’t need.

I am hopeful that my business will take off, and I’ll be making the money I did before. But, even when I am, I’m taking this lesson with me. Avery doesn’t need another new top and my kitchen doesn’t need an accent rug. Disposable income is nice to have, but in the future it’s more likely to go to savings than it is to impulse buys or “good deals.”

It’s amazing the difference that buying only what you need makes. Try it out for a few weeks, it may change your attitude toward spending or help you save a little more. And who doesn’t love saving money?

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