Television and advertising has us well trained. We believe that for every problem we face in life, there is a magical fix that if we just pay a little money for, our problem will go away.
Marketing is the tool of trade for retailers, to flog products that we can relate to. We buy products not on the features, but the supposed ‘benefits’ it will bring to us, our lifestyle and the world we wish to sculpt around ourselves.
For instance, when we see a new cleaning product promising to rid our shower of mold, we aren’t buying it simply because it promises to kill the mold – we are buying it because of the benefit, the benefit in that we as consumers will no longer have to sit on our knees and scrub for hours in the shower. Instead we simply spray the magical substance onto the wall and bob’s your uncle – your shower is clean.
This quick fix mentality is dangerous. Those who are great at saving money have an ability to see past the quick fix solutions – instead focusing on the more practical ways to avoid shopping while still finding a solution.
Here are some tips for those wanting to avoid the shops and still solve problems.
Ask yourself, are you just been lazy?
Quite often we turn to shopping because we are been downright lazy. We ‘could’ repaint the bedroom ourselves, yet to instead we call in a contractor to do the work for us. We tell ourselves this is because we can’t do as good of a job (very true in my case, but I digress) and that we don’t have enough time.
While the reasons can be valid, the truth of the matter is that really we are just not prepared to put the hard yards in. Next time you find yourself stuck and needing to spend to fix a problem, ask yourself whether you can find a burst of energy to do it properly instead of been lazy.
Think to yourself – how would my grandparents have done this?
Our grandparents didn’t go out and spend $600 on a robot vacuum that cleans the house while you are out (by the way, these little gadgets are insanely cool!) – they instead did the vacuuming in a quick 15 minute burst every week.
If you find yourself about to spend money, ask yourself how your grandparents would have completed the task back in the day. Odds are it wasn’t with a new gizmo, cleaning agent or wiz bang product that over promised and under delivered.
Can you make something yourself instead?
Recently I started to think a little like a handyman. I found ways to do things that were a little more DIY. What about if instead of buying flashy chemicals to clean the shower, you made your own natural versions?
This can apply to anything. If you are male and have a beard, do you really need a beard trimmer? We have for 100’s of years used scissors to cut beards, why stop now?
Or what about if you were sanding a table back to make it look like new, do you really need to go to Bunnings and buy an electric sander? For one fiftieth of the price you could get some sandpaper and do by hand.
Quite often we just spend because we are bored or over excited
How often do we see an ad or get all riled up on a topic and force ourselves into spending money? One minute you are super excited to do something, like take up bike riding, so you run out and buy the clothes, the bike, the helmet – the lot. The following week you couldn’t think of anything worse.
Stay calm and avoid making emotional purchases on a topic you are only just getting into. Always opt to ease into a topic – so instead of running out and buying a heap of clothes to work out in, why not start by seeing if you can keep up the motivation to walk around the block for a fortnight.
There is always a frugal, no spend way around things
Opt instead of making a purchase to gamify the situation. How can you complete the task, problem or concern without spending a single dollar? We do this in my household all the time and you would be amazed at how creative you get when you turn it into a game.
What you should always remember about buying stuff to fix a problem
Buying stuff to solve so called ‘problems’ is the sole cause of increased spending – we all want more free time, easier solutions and the ability to not do things we don’t enjoy.
Try and slow yourself down, evaluate if you are simply falling for consumerism and whether you could better use the money elsewhere by simply getting the energy to do it the old fashioned way.
Do you agree? When did you ever put this thinking into place and how much did it save you?