Tuesday, 07 November 2017 14:47

Do You Need It? A Quick Test for Reducing Outgoings

I like to think I am good at saving money and quite strong-minded when it comes to organising my finances. But I’m only human, and sometimes the temptation of a pair of shoes, or that jacket that’s on sale, can be too much to resist.

That’s when I employ the four most-powerful words available to would-be shoppers:

“Do I need it?”

Want it or need it?

Want and need are two very different things, and yet it is easy to get them mixed up. For example, let’s say you have two perfectly good pairs of trainers you wear a lot. I’m guessing you don’t really need a third pair. But if you saw a pair on sale, and they were a good bargain, you may say to yourself, “Do I want it?” If you do ask that question, the answer may well be “Yes.”

But if you asked yourself “Do I need it?” you’d be hard-pushed to give the same answer. That’s why these four words are so powerful. It takes time to get into the habit of using them, but when you do, they can save you a lot of wasted cash.

Looking at the items you do need

The great thing about these four words is you can use them in any situation. Maybe you’ve had a nice meal at a restaurant and the dessert menu comes along. If you ask yourself “do I need it?” chances are the answer will be no. It saves you cash, as well as tummy ache if you had overdone it.

The same applies in the supermarket. You see a deal that provides three items for the price of two. But these items are fresh, so they must be used within a certain time frame. Do you need them? No, because you know you will only use one within that time. Just because the deal is a good one, it doesn’t mean it is good for you.

And let’s apply it to a TV package deal. You have the most basic package, and you’re wondering whether to upgrade to include movie channels. Do you need them? No, especially if you never have a lot of time to watch television. If you want to watch a film and you don’t have it, you can buy the DVD. That would still work out cheaper than paying a lot more each month for channels you won’t always watch.

Do you need more advice?

I’m guessing not, as I think you will have got the hang of this by now. Just try this over the next few days, asking yourself if you need things rather than if you want them. You’ll notice it is the easiest way of making sure you don’t spend money frivolously, and provides you with a great opportunity to rein in your spending. You wouldn’t imagine four words could have such a profound effect on your finances. If you try it, though, you’ll see they can – and for the better, too.

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