You may not be able to fool all of the people all of the time, but you can certainly fool yourself. Try some of these tricks for getting on top of bad money habits.
1. Adopt the 24-hour test. Spied something you really like that you don’t really need? (Like new work shoes when you already have 12 pairs?) Tell yourself to wait 24 hours, which is time enough for the shopper’s euphoria to wear off and your rational brain to set in. If you STILL see the value in said purchase, go back. But if you’ve forgotten about it, or it’s not worth the bother of re-visiting the shops, well you’ve saved a wad of cash.
2. Employ a gatekeeper. Set up a direct debit that goes into a savings account and let your mother, father, mean sister or other strict friend set the account password. Then it’ll be that hard-nosed individual you need to convince when you’re tempted to dip into your house-deposit fund to buy the latest iPhone, even though your current one is only a year old and works perfectly.
3. Shop with a brutally honest friend. They’ll tell you when it’s unflattering or not worth the money; or that you’ve got three exactly like it etc. Unlike the super nice friend who says everything looks amazing, you should buy it. Pah, who needs them.
4. Think of cocktails as holiday dollars. It’s easy to spend on treats like cocktails or takeaways. But when you think about it, three of those $18 cocktails could buy you a night’s accommodation in Thailand. 40 of those cocktails could buy your airfare. How’s that for perspective.
5. Eat the apple. It’s mid afternoon, you’re at work, you’re tired, wouldn’t a snack be nice. So you sneak down to the snack bar to spend $4.50 on a brownie. Meanwhile, the apple you brought to work as your mid-afternoon snack (to save money and get healthy) moulders away in your desk drawer. Sound familiar?
How about this. Force yourself to eat the apple on the proviso that if you’re still hungry for something sweet after, then you can consider buying a sweet treat. Usually the apple will satisfy the sugar craving and you’ll forget about the brownie.
I said usually.
6. Just do a little bit. Do you procrastinate about doing laborious, dull tasks like budgets or tax, even though you know they’ll help you financially? Trick yourself by agreeing that doing a whole budget today is too much – you’ll just spend a half