This guest post is from Darlene Bauer, who works from home in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. She created BlogBoldly.com as a platform to help newcomers learn to build their own profitable online business.
Years ago, when I was single and on a tight budget, I devised a fun way to get practically everything on my wish list and have money left over! I was in my twenties and waited tables for a living, so obviously I wasn't rolling in riches. But having a limited budget didn't shut down my desire to make certain purchases. The challenge, of course, was how to buy what I wanted when I had so little discretionary income. So I created a super simple system that worked like a charm. And best of all, it met this criteria:
- I got to buy what I wanted.
- I saved a ton of money.
- Anyone can use this system.
- It's lots of fun!
How to set up your system
- Everything you want that costs over $50 goes on a list that I very creatively call “Wish List.”
- Put an estimated dollar amount of what you expect each wish item to cost.
- Write the date next to the items. You'll be adding to this list, so as you're adding your wish items, you'll put the current date next to each one.
- Then, you'll put a circled (3) or (12) next to each item. The (3) goes next to items under $200, and the (12) next to items which cost over $200.
Note 1: Your Wish List is not for big-ticket items like a house or car. It's for things such as a Kindle, bicycle, computer, jewelry, tickets, workout item, camera, expensive clothing or shoes, household items. Note 2: Of course, you can easily adjust the dollar amounts to better suit your financial situation.
Here's how the system works
For the items that have a (3) next to them, you'll wait three months before purchasing. The items with a (12), you must wait 12 months. But you don't wait idly. Nope. Here's where the fun part comes in, and this will help you separate what you truly want and what's just a whim. Spend your “wait” time researching. Find out everything you can about this potential purchase. Research, wait, research, and wait some more.
I started this system way before Google, so it's actually a lot more interesting today with the easy access to so much information. As you go through this process, you'll start to notice that some (or many) of the items aren't as appealing as they were when you first put them on the list. As this begins to happen, cross them off. The combination of researching and waiting is a beautiful thing. I think you'll be surprised at how few items are left to buy. You just start to lose interest as time goes on, and you'll find that the few items left after the allotted time are things that really matter to you.
I eliminated impulse buying. I did not feel deprived one iota because I knew if the item was still on my wish list in the end, I could buy it with no guilt whatsoever. I felt at that point I had earned it. I found the research to be a lot of fun and a big eye opener; I realized I didn't care as much about owning a particular item as I originally thought. By doing this, I cut my spending.
In case you're curious, here are some of the items that got scratched from my wish list: A moped, new camera, expensive purse, a painting and a gym membership. Items that did make the cut: A gold necklace, extravagant desk, and an elliptical machine. Don't let the simplicity of this stop you from trying it. I truly believe if you give it a shot, you'll be amazed! At the very least, you'll save a bunch of money.
So, what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? If you've ever implemented some variation of what I've outlined, please share! Or maybe you can add a twist that we can all benefit from.