Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

This video is humorous, but the advice is irreplaceable. When considering purchasing an item, no matter how trivial it may seem, it’s good practice to think about the following:

1. Do I have enough cash to pay for it fully?

2. Can I buy it without borrowing money?

3. If I waited a month, would I still want to buy it?

4. Does the purchase have no effect on my fixed expenses?

If the answer is yes to all these questions, then it may be affordable (not necessarily needed though). However, the important message here is to develop a habit of not spending money on things that you can’t afford. The limit on your credit card is not your own money. It is important to understand the difference. Cash and credit are two distinct things. Cash is what you own and credit is borrowed money; this is a simple way to view them.


Don’t buy things you can do without

We can take this a step further. Do not buy things you can do without. This removes the desire to have a lot of things because you have become detached from the importance of these items in your life. If items are not perceived as important, it is very easy to not want them. Of course, you can buy things that are enjoyable, but the choice now becomes easier and you realize that you ultimately buy less things than you would have under the previous mindset.

No debt

The main objective is to reduce the amount of debt that we have. The majority of Americans are drowning in debt, and the only way to take control of this is to adjust ones way of thinking. The first step is to change ones behavior through thoughts. If I think I do not need something and I adopt a habit of not spending money on things I do not need, then everything else will be taken care of. What will the result of this behavior and thinking be: zero debt and a feeling of more control over ones personal finance.

This is a very simplified illustration, but I believe the point is clear. This is personal finance in its simplest form.

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