Shopping has always been somewhat of a recreation activity for me. I enjoy the immediacy of online shopping and the experience of shopping in some of the lovely high street stores in my local town.
I love nothing more than selecting the perfect item myself or someone else. However, when I came across this blog, http://andthenwesaved.com/ it started to change my outlook on this.
Facing a significant level of debt on an average salary, she decided drastic action was needed to move her out of this cycle. She employed the ‘debt fast’ approach. Similar to a fast from food, she cut out all unnecessary spending and managed to pay off her debt in around a year.
I really liked her strategy of drawing up a list of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’.
After reading her journey, I started to realise how much of my own spending was habitual or accidental rather than considered purchasing.
In my previous job, I travelled a lot and would often have time to kill between meetings. This led to a serious Costa Coffee habit, and lots of time to peruse the shops and make impulse buys. A real favourite was charity shops, where I felt I couldn’t pass a bargain up as it may not be there the following time I visited. What I didn’t consider was if I really needed or wanted it!
In my effort to live more consciously, I wanted to spend my money in a more considered way. I have drawn up my own list of regular purchases that are ‘wants’ rather than needs. Over the next few months I am going to make a concerted effort to think before these purchases and try to utilise my spending for other things.
The Red Welly Wants List
- Gifts and impromptu presents. I love finding the perfect gift for people but want to spend more time making homemade presents. I enjoy crafting and baking and so want to make more and buy less.
- Coffee at Posh Coffee Shops. Luckily I have never been a Starbucks fan, but following the recent tax issues, I am avoiding these completely.
- Clothes and Shoes. In my old role, I definitely had a Corporate Wardrobe (black, black and more black) and then my own weekend wardrobe. With my change of job, the work wardrobe is too formal and I am enjoying wearing my own style to work. A recent clear out of my wardrobe demonstrated that I already have enough clothes, so I have decided not to buy any clothes or shoes for the next 3 months and wear what I already have. I also hope this will force me to be a bit more creative with customising and adapting clothing I already have.
- Trinkets. I love a beautiful trinket, especially for the house. But as with my clothing collection, I already have more than enough and if anything want to simplify and declutter my home. So, just because something is beautiful, it doesn’t mean I have to buy it!
- eBay bargains. I can happily spend hours trawling through ebay and have a particular obsession with buying dresses. There was a stage when I had a package arriving every day, and although they may only be a few pounds each, it all adds up. It will also give our postman a break!
- Make up and toiletries. I love a bit of girly make up and have a penchant for bright red lipstick and vintage style make up. Each trip to Boots now means I have enough make up and toiletries to last me for years. So I need to use up what I have before I buy more.
- Music from Itunes. This one may be slightly controversial for some of you. Buying music, especially direct to your phone is so easy now. However, like some of the items above, I already have hundreds of albums that I barely listen to. I need to enjoy what I have, instead of unconsciously accumulating more.
As you can see Eating Out, Food, Books, Travel, Stationery and Social events don’t appear on my wants list, I see them much more as needs! By reducing the wants, hopefully I can spend more on my needs and get a greater return.
What are your ‘Wants’ instead of ‘Needs’. Is there anything you would like to cut back on buying? Everyone’s list will be different.