Friday, December 12, 2014

Teaching Myself How and When to Pull The Trigger

Saving and frugality is an exercise which naturally lends itself to a period of evaluation before you purchase any object. Weighing the pros and the cons of the item is then followed by shopping around for the best quality and the best price. Finally, any responsible budgeter takes time to check over their spending plan to see when would be the best time to action the purchase.

I call this knowing when to pull the trigger. Timing is everything, especially in finances. You have bills due and income coming in at different periods in the month and it is usually a balancing act to make sure that you stretch your income to last until the next wave of money is scheduled to hit your shores.

The more you plan, the easier it gets to handle the timing of the outflows in your budget. You know how much you can spend and still meet all of your obligations and perhaps cover a few unknowns as well.

Knowing your money situation is a superpower that can lead to guilt-free purchases and no stress over debt. Or that is the theory anyway...

I have found that for me the more I refine my budgeting skills, the harder it gets to pull the trigger even if I know that it will hardly affect my long term financial picture. I was quickly becoming a miser, hoarding bullets just for the heck of it.

Saving as I mentioned before can be quite addictive but one needs to strike a balance to ensure that you are not needlessly punishing yourself. This was were I was falling down.

I had been so discouraged and ashamed by the previous spending habits that were thrown into light by my minimalism journey that I was having a had time distinguishing when I was buying something that would genuinely add value to my life and when I was simply feeding the old spending beast.

My No-Buy November journey showed me that I am capable of exercising extremes but finding the balance in the middle was going to be a real struggle.

My current strategy for dealing with this is that I wrote up a Master List of everything I want to buy in the next year. I was surprised that it wasn't as many things as I thought, and a good few of them have been knocking around in my brain for years now.

My next step was to figure out which of these was most important to me right now. When I did that I was to research the items and if I could budget for it, to do so and to purchase them immediately.

Having done so I am feeling like I stuck my hand in the cookie jar. I am doubting if I am making excuses or if I am after taking positive control of my spending. Your guess is as good as mine, so I plan to simply stay the course and see how it pans out.

I will update my findings in this experiment as it goes along in the hopes that my honesty may help someone else who shares this same problem.

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