It’s OK to want things. We all do. When talking about saving money and financial responsibly, we sometimes skip the fun part where we talk about indulging a little bit. Wants are often put on the back-burner because they typically follow a long list of needs. This week, I’m going to share a creative little way that I acknowledge my wants and spoil myself when possible.
Create a list
I keep a running list of wants on a memo in my smartphone. It’s simply titled “wants.” When I see something I want, I add it to my memo so it’s always accessible. It can be anything that’s not part of my budget, but I can feel it pulling at my wallet. An Instapot. A pair of shoes. Workout equipment. You name it.
If you read my blogs regularly, you know I believe every line item in a solid budget should have a well thought-out purpose. And, you may have guessed it, I have a budget line item for my wants’ list. It’s human nature to want things occasionally, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to others.
So, each month I allow myself to purchase one thing off my list. This helps me to keep track of and remember things I’d like to have without impulsively buying things on credit. It also allows me to treat myself when I can.
Consider the cost
Don’t get me wrong. If another unexpected expense comes up that can’t be covered with my budget or savings in some way, the wants purchase for that month gets scratched quickly. I also take the cost into consideration. The want can’t be a $300 purse! Well, it can be. But if I’m really looking at something more expensive, I save my wants funds over several months before purchasing.
I’ve been doing this for a while now, and you know what I almost always discover? When I revisit my wants list at a later time, I no longer want all the items anymore. Money, and how you spend it, is very emotional. This exercise allows me to table those moments where I’m tempted to buy sporadically. Later on, I have more clarity and can narrow down what I’d truly love to have vs. a passing whim. Too often people let their desire for immediate gratification lead them to a poor choice.
It’s OK to buy that one thing you want that’s weighing on your mind. Plan for it, make it happen if possible and take the time to enjoy it. Life’s too short and money’s too scarce to not enjoy the fruits of your labor sometimes.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.