As consumers… especially American consumers… we have relatively unlimited wants and desires. Marketing departments capitalize on this and even convince us to buy products that we never knew we wanted, but now that they’re available, we HAVE to have them. Companies like Groupon and LivingSocial are the evolution of this process.
Even I find myself falling prey to the latest “deal” sometimes… for example, I have purchased several massage certificates that are sitting at my desk staring at me. I want a massage, but do I NEED a massage? Let alone several of them?
More importantly… do I want these massages more than other goals I have? Not at all.
Phrase To Save
In the article it talks about the common struggle of unlimited wants vs. limited resources (aka money in the bank). It’s easy to say “it’s only $10 for that DVD” or “I deserve this $100 sweater” because we all work so hard and want to treat ourselves with a little luxury now and then.
However, when you approach the potential purchase another way, the decision to say NO to that purchase becomes much easier.
That’s where Phrase To Save comes in.
We all have differing goals, but let’s say that your goal is to pay for 4 years of your child’s education. Assuming 4 years at $25,000 per year, that would be $100,000. A LOT OF MONEY. However, looking at it another way, that’s only $68.50 per day ($25,000 / 365 days).
For every $68.50 you don’t spend, you’ve just paid for 1 day of college!!!
Let’s revisit the DVD and sweater purchases again.
- That $15 DVD is worth 5.2 hours of college ($15 / $68.50 * 24 hours)
- That $100 sweater is worth 1.5 days of college
If paying for college is truly your higher priority goal over that DVD or sweater, then the decision becomes MUCH easier looking at it this way.
Don’t you think?
Making a choice between two choices is often hard. It is even moreso when you have the immediate gratification of the purchase at hand versus a goal that you could be months or even years away from realizing.
So, to make the decision easier on yourself, do these steps:
- Have a list of goals that really are your priority
- Break those goals down into small fragments (like cost per day or per hour)
- Compare the proposed purchase vs. your priority goals
- Save the money you didn’t spend in a dedicated account and watch your balances grow!!!
I have about 15-20 sub-accounts at Capital One (formerly ING Direct) because they don’t charge a fee, have no minimums, and pay a decent rate of interest. Each of those accounts is dedicated to an annual bill or a medium/long-term goal. It’s an easy way to segregate money towards various goals and ensure I’m making progress towards those goals.
- $50 bonus for opening a Checking Account
- $25 bonus for opening a Savings Account
- $25 bonus for opening a Kids Savings Account
- $25 bonus for opening a MONEY Debit Account for Teens
And, YES, you can earn all of these bonuses… so, that’s $125 towards your goal. Which is 43.8 hours of school, based on our $100,000 college example!