Money Talk Series | Part 02
In my last Money Talk post, I broke down seven advantages that allowed me to travel the world. Do you remember the last two advantages I wrote about? Advantage number 6 was “I’ve never had credit card debt” and advantage number 7 was “I was born frugal AF.” In response to my Instagram stories talking about this, someone asked me to do a post about how I was able to resist temptations and save up so much money.
HOW I MENTALLY PREPARE MYSELF TO SPEND LESS
How exactly did I manage to be so frugal that I didn’t end up with credit card debt? I have a few tips and mental tricks up my sleeve that I live by—the first on this list is based on one of my favorites; shop like a man, plan like a woman. So let’s jump right into it!
1. MAKE A LIST AND STICK TO IT
Now keep in mind, these are generalizations and don’t apply to EVERY man and EVERY woman, but just rock with me on the point I’m trying to make.
When it comes to shopping, there’s what a friend of mine likes to call “hyposhopping” (buying too little) and “hypershopping” (buying too much). Both have their downsides. Men tend to be hyposhoppers and women tend to be hypershoppers, but the trick is to find that happy place in the middle.
Men shop like they’re on a scavenger hunt. They have a mental list of exactly what they need and they go out and get it. You tell your man, “babe I need some vegan patties for our BBQ” and he goes to the store on a mission to get that one thing. He is so focused on that one thing that he doesn’t consider that maybe y’all need mustard, ketchup, and buns too. Therefore, he comes back with less than what is needed. It’s an incomplete shopping trip.
Women, on the other hand, might go into a store with a proper list of what is needed, but then we get distracted by shiny objects and come back with way more than what is necessary. It turns into an excessive shopping trip.
Why not combine the good aspects of both?
SHOP LIKE A MAN: When you go shopping, focus on leaving with exactly what you went in there to buy.
PLAN LIKE A WOMAN: You are likely to have better control of your spending habits when you take the time to plan for them.
If you can make a habit out of making lists and shopping for exactly what you need—nothing more and nothing less—two things happen:
1. You prevent yourself from overspending on extra items you had no intention of getting.
2. You prevent yourself from forgetting things you need that lead to you having to go back to the store and needlessly surround yourself with temptation all over again.
2. KNOW YOUR VICES
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman—one thing we can’t escape is that we ALL have our vices. You gotta know yours.
For my husband, it’s cutting edge technology. When I posted my Hong Kong honeymoon video (about to hit 300k views hollllaaaaa), one person made a comment that made me chuckle—she said the only time she saw my husband smile throughout the whole video was when we were in the electronics store.
He is pretty frugal, but not when it comes to the ish he loves. I once watched him buy two different brands of VR (virtual reality) systems—Oculus and HTC Vive—only to play with them for a week and then set them aside to collect dust. It was the hot new thing and he bought into it even though the tech wasn’t even as amazing as he anticipated.
Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting something so bad, that we don’t even take the time to evaluate the pros and cons of getting it. Is this shiny object you desperately want really going to be worth it for you in the end? Will it just end up being a collector’s item sitting on a shelf somewhere never to be used again? Is it an impulse buy or a carefully thought out purchase? Don’t avoid the hard questions when it comes to your shopping temptations.
Also, if you know what your vices are, be extra careful when you’re near those particular sections. Love clothes? Avoid those stores at the mall if that’s not what you’re there for. If you read my last post, you know that I waited until I was 27 to update my wardrobe. There were several times that I grabbed an armful of clothes while shopping, walked up to the checkout line, and said to myself “do I really want to spend money on all this stuff” and I put it all back and walked away.
3. ENVISION YOUR GOALS
So what helped stop me from spending money on clothes all those times? Even though I’ve been surrounded by stylish people my whole life, I tried my best to focus on my financial goals first. When I was in my early 20s, my goal was to buy a house.
As a kid, I admired my sister, the ultimate fashionista who was voted Most Attractive in high school. In college, I was in class with girls who dressed to the nines and beat their faces to perfection. In corporate America, I worked with women who dressed for the executive roles they wanted.
One time, I had a manager pull me to the side to tell me I should put more effort into my appearance and start wearing heels. I politely told him I was saving up for a house that meant more to me than playing dress up for him.
When you have a major goal you’re working toward, keep it at top of mind. Create a vision board, make it the wallpaper on your phone, put a photo of it in your wallet—do whatever you need to do to visually remind yourself of your bigger ambitions and manifest it into reality.
4. DON’T FALL FOR THE “SUPERSIZE ME” TRICK
The brands you love have mastered the art of upselling.
Ever gone to a fast food restaurant and supersized your meal because…ayyyy issa discount! You’re getting more for a lower price, right? What you thought was a good deal though, was actually a bad one. You are being convinced to get more of something you didn’t intend to get in the first place. So how is that a good deal if you weren’t in the market for it to begin with?
Ever gone to a bar for one drink only to get caught in the “would you like to start a tab” trap? It’s an upsell from one drink to multiple ones. Psychologically, you’re not feeling the pain of swiping your credit card over and over again for a drink because it’s being held for you. If you had to swipe it each time you ordered, you’d probably buy less drinks.
5. WHEN YOU SAY NO TO OTHERS, YOU SAY YES TO YOURSELF
Saying no is one of the most valuable skills you can cultivate. Kids will tell you “no” in a hot second. I’m not a mom, but I’ve spent enough time around my niece and nephew to figure out that they are experts at turning down what they don’t want. If they can do it, so can we!
It doesn’t always feel good to say no though right? The trick is making your brain view each “no” as a “yes.”
When your friends want to go out and you know you’re saving up for something else, don’t look at it as turning them down. Think of it as saying “yes” to other opportunities: paying off your credit card debt, going on that big trip, or finally putting money away for retirement.
When you put a positive spin on each no, your brain will see staying in as a money-making opportunity. So be okay with saying no. Say no to your vices. Say no to your friends. Say no to anything that doesn’t align with your bigger money goals.
SACRIFICE NOW TO PROSPER LATER
So those are just a few of my tips to control your spending! Don’t sacrifice years of prosperity in an attempt to enjoy a short moment of comfort.
I’m not saying don’t treat yourself, but whenever you’re considering giving into your impulses to feel good now, think about the bigger picture. What do you want down the line that’s important to you? Maybe a home, a nice car, epic vacations, a good life for your kids? Whatever it is, set yourself up to succeed at getting it.
I could have been the baddest bitch on the block in my 20s but it would have been temporary. I sacrificed little things back then that I knew would lead to me living my best life long-term. I stayed with my parents for awhile so that I could save up for my first home. I invested in a foreclosure as my first home so I could buy my forever home later. I resisted buying tons of cheap clothing so that I could purchase high quality pieces when I got older. I leased cars so I could own my dream car one day.
You got this! I know it’s hard to resist shopping temptations, but when you look at it psychologically I’m confident you can change your spending habits.