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Ask yourself what you deserve more

When you are in a department store, eyeing a new shirt or skirt or pair of shoes for your wardrobe, one of the messages you might tell yourself is, “I deserve this.”

We won’t argue with that. You do deserve it. But you deserve something else, too, the peace of mind that comes from living debt free.  You also deserve the things you can buy with cash later because you have rid yourself of debt.

So if you can spend cash for that piece of clothing you have your eyes on and enjoy the vacations, the car and the house in the future, then your purchase won’t cost you more than the number on the price tag.

If, however, you need a credit card to buy that clothing because you have already spent the money from your most recent paycheck, put the credit card away and give yourself at least a day to consider your decision.

During that day consider the impact a single choice might have on your financial future. Among the things you should ask yourself are:

  • How much will this single purchase affect my financial future?
  • If I continue to spend money I don’t have, where will I be financially in two years?
  • How will I feel about this item of clothing in three years?

“It’s just a few dollars,” you might be telling yourself. That’s true. But that one purchase is a key ingredient to what gets many into financial trouble. While there are some who are driven to financial ruin through life changes like divorce and medical issues, many more are there because of day-to-day decisions that accumulate into huge problems. It’s hard to see that when you are considering a single purchase by itself.

And chances are if you stopped to look at your purchasing history you would see that this possible purchase could contribute to a problem you have already established.  After you put the item back on the rack and you walk out of the store, resolve to take a few more steps that will help you protect your financial future.

  • Plan your purchases.
  • Look for bargains before you even begin to shop.
  • Leave your credit cards at home.
  • Set yourself a goal for what you will save up for once you get out of debt. That might be the key to resisting impulse buying.

You do deserve that item of clothing you admire. But buying it on credit will almost assuredly decrease the happiness you get from it. As the weeks and months go on, the burden of the debts you keep increasing will outweigh the thrill you got from wearing it.

What you deserve more is to be debt free, to be able to pay for cash for the things you love, and to live unburdened by debt.  To learn more ways to live debt free and to establish a plan for eliminating debts, contact American Financial Solutions, a non-profit credit counseling agency.

Published Mar 21, 2014.