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Saving Money – Changing your Spending Habits

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Contributor:
Ruth Brown
Ruth Brown

Changing your spending habits, just like changing any habit, can be difficult – maybe even painful.  Ultimately though, just how difficult and just how painful will be up to you.

I’m sure we’ve all heard “it takes 21 days to create a habit” or various other time frames depending on which book you read or which website you’re visiting.   There is a whole industry out there dedicated to helping people change their ways – their dietary ways, their emotional ways, their financial ways.    All because we think it’s too hard to do it on our own, we think we need outside assistance / divine intervention (we want the easy way out - we’re looking for is someone else to take the responsibility for our actions).

In reality, successfully changing a habit takes one simple act.

You simply need to decide to change.   You need to decide that your current behaviour is no longer acceptable – under ANY circumstances.   No excuses – you draw the line in the sand and decide that it is a line that you are no longer willing to cross.

For example, it has now been at least 6 months since I brought my groceries home in a plastic shopping bag.  Prior to that, I had purchased many a green reusable shopping bag, however on the days I went shopping I never had them with me (they were at home, by the front door, waiting to be put back into the car).    So I would either buy MORE green bags at the supermarket or I would accept the earth-choking land-filling plastic bags – however, this second option gave me such strong feelings of guilt and anguish that I finally “snapped”.

I simply drew the line in the sand; I decided that there were no longer any circumstances under which I would accept a plastic bag at the supermarket, EVER.   If I arrive at the supermarket without the reusable bags, I have to pay the price and buy more.   Which incidentally, I have not had to do for 6 months either.  Once the decision was made, remembering to put the green bags back into the car became miraculously much much simpler.

When attempting to change a habit, in my opinion, any pain or discomfort you experience comes from not fully accepting responsibility.   It comes from leaving the door just that little bit open, allowing for the fact that you may not succeed right away – therefore it’s OK to eat just “one” chocolate biscuit, it “won’t hurt” to have just this one cigarette to get me over the cravings and having takeaway just once this week “won’t break the budget”.   But then if doing it once won’t hurt, then doing it twice couldn’t either right?  Even three times wouldn’t be that bad would it?   Do you see where we’re going here?!

Deciding once and for all what you will and won’t spend money on, will help ease any pain and discomfort you might experience considerably.   

Indecision = pain/mental anguish.   Just decide and set yourself free.

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