4 Questions You Should Ask Before Spending
Have you ever had this thought before? "I work hard for my money so I deserve to buy whatever I want". Or "I don’t want to feel bad about buying coffee every morning, that is what I look forward to most in the day"?
It can be hard trying to balance buying things for today and saving for the future. After all tomorrow is not promised. So how do you balance spending (Balling out) and saving (No life)?
Based on my experience I have found 4 questions you should ask before spending money
1 Is it in the budget?
I talked with a reader several weeks ago and she asked me if she had to give up her monthly manicure and pedicure so she could pay off her student loans. 😊 Is sacrifice necessary, yes. However, if getting your nails done is important to you then put it in the budget and make it work. Just like if coffee is important, put it in the budget. The hardest part of self-control is the impulse buying. That is when something is not in the budget, but you have to have it. You know what I am talking about. You are at your favorite store and they have a one day deal and you have to have the item. Is it in the budget? If the answer to this question is yes, then go for it!
2 Is it an Emergency?
I always recommend having an emergency fund! Dave Ramsey fans know to start with an emergency fund of $1000 and then eventually 3-6 months of your living expenses saved up just in case. So let's say you go to the dentist and you have a cavity, and it costs $300 to get the procedure done. It would be easy to say, "Well, that is not in the budget sorry doc." LOL No, get the procedure done and use your emergency fund. Unfortunately, a friends surprise birthday party is not an emergency, so I would not use your emergency fund for that expense.
Side note - Once you spend part of the emergency fund you need to re-allocate your budgeted savings towards building it back up.
The first two questions will help you stick to your budget and reach your money goals. What if you have reached your money goals already? You are not free to spend recklessly 😊 (you will get there don’t worry) The next 2 questions are emotional questions that will help you decide if this is a good choice of spending or not.
3 Will I be Happy or Healthy?
Is this purchase going to make me happy or healthy? Yes, okay let’s do it. No, okay why do I want it? Some people find happiness in spending money, just like some people find happiness in helping others, and some people find happiness in spending money on others. There is no right or wrong answer. If what you are buying will make you happy or healthy, then in my opinion, it is a good purchase. One thing to consider is that the product itself is going to make you happy, not the excitement of buying something.
Related Post: 3 Minimalist Habits Everyone Should Try
4 Does this help me get closer to my goals?
If your goal is to buy a house in 2 years and you need X amount to do that, but there is a new car you want that would hinder you from reaching your goal, then you have a big decision to make. On the flip side, if your goal is to become a pilot, and you want to spend money on flying lessons to help you get closer to your goal, I think it is worth it. This question helps guide me with spending because it makes me think big picture.
These 4 questions will enable you to have better clarity when making spending decisions. I do not think spending money is wrong. However, I believe when you spend money you should have a plan and a reason for spending. What do you think?