We got everything we wanted for Christmas. But, we’re all back at the shops buying more.

It’s late January. Most of us probably got everything we wanted for Christmas. Yet, we’re all back at the shops buying more.

I know people who were at the shops on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Australia Day and all weekends in-between. The latest electricals, homewares, clothes and shoes occupy their time and their money. Their lives are a constant cycle of researching what’s better and throwing out the ‘old’ to make way for the new. It’s not their fault. They’ve never been taught how to not spend money. They’ve been taught how to spend money. It’s our culture.

Researcher and Storyteller Brene Brown says “Our culture teaches us about shame – it dictates what is acceptable and what is not… We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalogue in one hand and heart-breaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us – from the messages and expectations of our culture.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of men and women in Australia, the UK and the USA about shopping and spending. Unanimously they said that the biggest issue is ‘making do with what you already have’.

This explains why – when we’ve all been given absolutely everything we wanted for Christmas – we’re all back at the shops buying more. It’s because we’re never satisfied with what we’ve got. We’re never content and happy. We can’t make do. We feel deprived. It’s a constant cycle of buying more, but never feeling satisfied. As Brene says, it’s “…from the messages and expectations of our culture.”

So, what are the solutions?

  1. Firstly, Stop, Look and Listen. What worked for you last year? When were you happy and content? What didn’t work? When did you feel deprived? What do you want to change? What do you want to get better at? How could you make your life stress-free and more fun?
  2. Secondly, I’m recommending that we all make a Spending Plan. How much money will you spend on NEEDS (rent/mortgage, bills, food, insurance, health, transport)? How much money will you spend on WANTS? Wants are things you want/would like to buy, for example, clothes, shoes, travel, holidays, books, electricals, entertainment, experiences. How much money will you SAVE? Could you save 5%, 10% or 20% of your pay? Grab a coffee, a piece of paper and create your own 2018 Spending Plan. If you need some extra help drop me an email rachel(at)cyclingrachelsmith(dot)com and I will email you a Spending Plan template.
  3. Thirdly, I always tell people to make a Waiting List. I do it. I write down what I think I want to buy on a ‘three-month waiting list’. I keep my ‘Want List’ in the notes section on my iPhone. If I still want and need said item when the 90 days have passed, I buy it. Nine times out of ten I don’t. Last October I thought I wanted a trampoline. 90 days passed and in January I said “Why on earth did I even write trampoline on the list?!!” If 3 months is too long for you, have a go at 7 or 14 days.
  4. Finally, the next Underspent Challenge ‘Fee Free February’ starts later this week.

I’m Rachel Smith and I’m Underspent. I didn’t buy anything new or 2nd hand in 2014 and saved $52,680 (38% of my salary). I quit impulse shopping and saved my money. I changed my spending and transformed my savings. It started as a lifestyle experiment, but it changed my life, so I kept on going. I’m the Author of Underspent and I’m teaching people how to break the habit of impulse shopping in 7 steps through my Underspent book, free monthly challenges and my weekly blog.

Underspent book is available in paperback ($12.99 or £7.40) and e-book, iBook and kindle formats ($2.99 or £1.70) in all online and high street/shopping centre book shops or buy a signed paperback copy ($12.99 + P&P) direct from me via my website www.cyclingrachelsmith.com. I’ve purposely made the Underspent book affordable.

** Email me about Bulk Orders (it’s a great resource for your staff, clients and customers) OR you selling my book at your bank/business/office/shop/café and you receiving 50% of the profits **

Photo Credit: Visit Brisbane