What Do Consumer Savvy Individuals Think about Money?
Part of maintaining a budget and being consumer savvy isn’t about simply adjusting your spending habits, it’s about adjusting your attitudes about money. How you feel about money is in part the result of what you learned about money growing up. If you experienced your parents arguing over money, that experience is certainly going to affect how you feel about money. If you heard the words, “We can’t afford that” very frequently then you might now have a feeling of deprivation when you don’t purchase something you really want. If you want to be consumer savvy, you need to view money differently.
Is More Money the Answer?
You might think that the answer to your money worries would be solved if you just had more money. If some mysterious stranger paid off all your debt or there was some computer glitch and your credit card balances were wiped out, you would then be able to start over fresh. The problem is eliminating debt doesn’t address the reason why you ended up with debt in the first place, and consumer savvy individuals know this. Certainly if you encounter circumstances beyond your control such as a layoff or major illness then debt is a necessary evil. But what about if you have debt simply because you thought you needed more shoes or more clothes even though you already owned fifty pairs of shoes and still have clothes with the tags on? If that sounds like you, then your attitudes about money definitely need a makeover.
You’re Not A Child
Many people “reward” themselves too much. It’s a behavior that most of us learn in childhood. You bring home a good report card, and you get to go out for ice cream. The problem is that when we are stressed out as adults we tend to rely on rewarding ourselves to get through stressful times. Pretty soon you can find yourself celebrating every small thing that happens. Certainly don’t deprive yourself, but look for other ways to reward yourself. You need to stop using shopping as a way to feel better about yourself. The next time you have a big reason to celebrate try something less costly that consumer savvy shoppers do such as taking an afternoon off or giving yourself two extra hours of reading time.
Set an Example
If you are a parent, make sure that you don’t pass on negative beliefs about money to your kids. When you tell your child he can’t buy the plastic toy at the store that looks like it will break after just one use, tell them you are choosing to spend your money differently such as saving up for a more durable toy rather than saying “We can’t afford that.” Consumer savvy shoppers rarely say they can’t afford things; they simply say they choose to spend their money more wisely.