(“Just about” being the keyword. We’ve got to be reasonable here, folks!)
…what happens when you want to buy something that doesn’t fit in your standard monthly budget?
(As well as respecting our tight finances, practicing self-control, enjoying delayed gratification, and spending wisely. Wheew! That’s a lot of awesomeness!)
I now introduce to you…
Whenever you want/need to buy something that doesn’t fit within your standard monthly budget…
- It gives you time to set money aside.
- How to set money aside? Find out how much money you need for the item, divide it by 3 months (or longer if needed), and set that amount aside each month.
- The money you set aside should be money leftover at the end of the month after paying all your bills and debt.
- If you don’t have any money left over (living paycheck to paycheck) then the money needs to be cut from somewhere else. Cut down your eating out, entertainment, or “fun money” budget for example, and set that aside.
- This money then goes into your “Family Regular Savings” account (see HERE).
- If it takes you longer than 3 months to set the money aside (for extra large purchases, or if you simply need to space out the setting aside because of a tight budget) then change the title of “the 3 month rule” to “the 6 month rule” or “the 12 month rule” and all the same rules will apply.
- Holidays = holiday sales. Season changes = new inventory, making “old inventory” cheaper!
- Taking your time will give you a chance to anticipate upcoming holidays and take advantage of the holiday sales.
- Also, the 3 months might fall on Christmas, your birthday, or anniversary. This will give you an opportunity to ask for cash instead of gifts, pool the money, and use it to help buy your item. (Like I did with my favorite Roomba vacuum seen HERE.)
- By setting the “3 month rule” as a hard-fast rule, it WILL eliminate impulse buys!
- This will not only save your family THOUSANDS in the long run, but will ensure you’re buying the perfect item for you, and not just the best of what’s available right then.
- Waiting 3 months forces you to slow down, take a breath, and do your research! You know you can’t have it right now, so it gives you time to ask around, shop around, and research.
- Research what? The best brand, size, type, color, style, price, look, and functionality for YOU.
- If it’s a couch, go to 10 different furniture stores before deciding. Bring a swatch of fabric home and see what it looks like with your decor…the lighting in your house…your paint color…see if it stains easily.
- If it’s a new stroller, ask every mom you know what they love/hate about theirs. Borrow theirs. Take it for a spin around your neighborhood. See if it fits in your car. Test the wheels.
- Whatever it is, this timeframe will give you time to do proper research to make sure you’ll be 100% happy with your purchase, and that it will accomplish all your needs.
It gives you time to find the best deal.
- Along the same lines of avoiding impulse-buys, finding the BEST deal is key.
- It’s not always about bottom-line price, either! Finding the best deal needs to include return policy, warranty/repair, delivery/set-up, brand, make/model, and if it’s used, wear and tear.
- Here’s an example: When my son was born in 2010, it was time to buy a DSLR camera. We had been setting money aside for MONTHS (if you remember HERE, our finances were a MESS back then). We didn’t have any extra money to spare so we pooled our Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s gift money (from each other as well as other family members) for a year. He was due in January, so we started shopping for the camera a few months in advance. We looked at stores, online, Costco, you name it. Because we took our time before buying, we learned that if we were patient, then we could take advantage of an additional rebate AFTER Christmas at Costco. We almost purchased the camera elsewhere because we calculated that the price would still be higher at Costco. But upon further research we learned that the Costco camera included a bag, second lens, and a killer repair policy. Their RETURN policy has been shortened, but because we bought the camera with our American Express credit card then Costco and AMEX would repair the camera for years. And guess what? Over 1 year later I broke the camera, and they fixed it…for free! We are so glad we took our time to find the best deal.
- It gives time for you to find coupons that will help with your purchase.
- It also gives you time to search for cheaper versions of the item through classifieds, yard sales, thrift stores, and even DIY.
Waiting 3 months…
- If you’re anything like me, you get an idea about something you want, you lock your mind onto it, and hardly sleep until you have it. BUT…if you’re anything like me, you also change your mind as quickly as you set it!
- If you simply wait before buying that thing that you “just HAVE to have!”…you’ll find that after a few weeks you might just not want it any more! See? Just saved yourself mucho dinero. Doesn’t that feel good?
- Look at it this way…the longer you wait, the more time you have to look forward to having it, which will make you appreciate it all the more. Fabulous, eh?!
- This practice will benefit you in many other areas of your life, not just in purchasing products. It will make you a stronger person, a wiser shopper, and will give you patience.
- Plus, these are the types of skills we should be teaching our children to stop the “entitlement generation” trend that we have created. Teaching our families that it takes patience and hard-work to get everything we want in life is a priceless lesson they will learn, that will benefit your family for generations. Can you imagine what our economy would be like today if everyone just took a deep breath and had some patience before buying something?
Photo source for title graphic found HERE