spending, saving, temptation, early retirement, overspending, coupons, groupons, unsubscribe

Temptation – Who Is Pulling The Strings?

She said: One of the hardest parts of saving money to retire early is to limit spending. But why is it so hard? Because temptation is EVERYWHERE. Until you start focusing on not spending money you don’t even notice how many times a day you’re tempted to do so. When you first start resisting that temptation, it can almost feel like you’re depriving yourself because you’re saying “no” constantly. You might tell yourself no to a Starbucks coffee, taking the tollway to get to work faster, that cute pair of boots in the store window you walked by, lunch out with coworkers, a quick snack at the gas station while you fill up, and that sweater that you got a 20% off coupon for, all before noon. You might think life is just no fun when you’ve already denied yourself 6 times in one morning. But once you start doing it and seeing the financial results, you will also see that you’re not being deprived; you didn’t actually need ANY of those things.

I started to recognize that it sucks to not let myself buy the things I want, so I decided to remove those temptations from my life wherever possible. By removing the triggers that make me want to buy something, I do not have to deny myself as often. There are two changes I’ve made that have drastically reduced the amount of temptation to buy things.

  • 1- Unsubscribe from EVERYTHING. Trust me on this one! I can’t tell you how many things I’ve bought that I had zero intention of buying because it popped up in an email and I just had to have it. How many of you can relate to this — every morning I wake up and check email on my phone in an attempt to delay getting out of bed. On average I was deleting about 15 emails from companies I had purchased items from. But every now and then, one caught my eye. “Shoes 20% off today only!” “We miss you, enjoy $10 off your next purchase.” “We have a mystery gift for you.” I clicked it, and found the dress/sweater/shoes/pants/whatever I just HAD to have, even though 5 minutes ago I had no intention of buying it and didn’t even know it existed. There is a reason companies automatically subscribe you when you buy something, or sell your email to other companies. Because you open those emails and spend money. If you unsubscribe from ALL of these emails, you won’t have to tell yourself no to those purchases, and you won’t even know what you’re missing. Not to mention, count how many emails like that a day you delete without looking at them. It’s just clutter in your inbox, clear it out!
  • 2- Don’t buy into Groupons and coupons. When Groupon first came out it was so exciting! Massages for $20! Dinner buy one get one free! What a deal! But here’s the thing, it’s only a deal if you were going to buy it ANYWAY. If you weren’t going to go get a massage, you didn’t save $40, you SPENT $20 (plus tip). If you would have cooked dinner at home you didn’t save the cost of a meal, you SPENT the cost of a meal (plus tax and tip). Why do you think these companies offer these “deals” at such a great price? Because it gets you in there and you are going to spend more money. Don’t fall for it! Don’t get me wrong, coupons are a great way to save money. But instead of letting the push marketing make you buy something you don’t want, actively seek out coupons for things you are going to buy anyway.

He said: There are two ways to save money quickly, one is earning more and the other is spending less. In America we have the ability to earn as much as we want but we have to be willing to work for it. To be honest, I like spending time with my family so I’m not willing to work for it. Wait, we’re going to retire early without working long hard hours? Yes and that’s by utilizing the second option, spending less. And here are some techniques I, and you, can use to reduce the temptation to spend money.

The number one thing I do to spend less is I limit my access to money. When I go to work I don’t carry my debit card with me. When I have extra cash lying around I take it out of my wallet and leave it at home. You will be amazed at how fast that adds up. Since we don’t have credit cards, leaving my debit card in my car or in a drawer and not carrying cash means I can’t spend money even if I wanted to.

Also we use inconveniences to help our cause. My debit card has been jacked up for months and I can only use it if I run it as credit. In my eyes that is actually perfect. I can no longer pull out cash from ATM’s or when buying things at the store. For some this may be scary but if you plan ahead you shouldn’t have a problem. Most companies take credit cards these days so if you find yourself in an emergency, payment shouldn’t be an issue if you run the debit card as credit. Here’s an example of how this looks on a daily basis.

When my coworkers decide to eat out for lunch I don’t have that option without my card, and I’m satisfied eating what I brought from home. (It’s probably healthier anyways.) At $15 a meal and 2-3 meals per month that is $45 I am saving solely because I don’t have access to money. Over the course of a year it is $540 and over the course of ten years it is $4,900 not including interest, with interest it is $8,107. Do you remember the restaurant you ate at, the food you ordered, and the people you went with on February 15, 2005? Yeah me neither, but I do know what eight grand in the bank looks like.

We said: Temptation is all around us; on TV, in emails, in stores, on billboards, on Pinterest, on restaurant menus, and especially in social settings. It can be very hard to resist and difficult to change your buying behavior, but we promise it does get easier. Until you get comfortable telling yourself (and others) no, try reducing the temptations in your life that are leading you to spend money you don’t need to. Our challenge for you this week is to remove a significant temptation in your life. Unsubscribe from 5 emails, go out for the day without a credit card, or cook dinner for a friend instead of going to a restaurant. And then, transfer some money into your savings account!

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