Today I got inspired but my wife while eating lunch with my family. I am someone who can always eat less and exercise more, therefore sometimes I try to slow down what I eat. She offered me the last sandwich and I responded, “I am not sure yet, let me wait and see.” Ultimately, I ate the sandwich, but somehow I felt better about my decision.
This lead me to realize two days ago I did the same behaviour for a financial situation. My goal is this behaviour may help those of you whom may need to “slow down” their spending. This is not a new or original idea, however, sometimes we need practical moments in life to demonstrate the ideas we already know. While we are here on vacation in Florida we had a cloudy day.
My wife and I appreciate the day off my parents gave us by taking care of our children. On our day off we decided to go to the outlets in Daytona. We walked into the first store and the store offered an interesting discount. I am a sucker for a deal I looked around and found a pair of shoes that I liked. To be eligible for the discount I was required to buy another pair of shoes. As I looked around with my wife, we found another pair and agreed to make the purchase. I cannot shake the phrase “please enjoy responsibly,” should be added as a disclosure to many of these specials.
Something told me to wait. I was not feeling super confident and decided to wait. We continued our day, many different stores, had a late lunch, and I had forgotten all about the shoes. My wife Sophie reminded me by asking, “Do you want to stop and see those shoes again?” My initial response was, “what shoes?” and coming to my senses I agreed.
In the store, I tried on both shoes and to my surprise they did not feel or look the same anymore. I am unsure why, I cannot provide more details. In the end, I did not buy those shoes. Maybe this story demonstrates I have more discipline with money versus food, or maybe it demonstrates the power of waiting. Can this urge to wait be like the feeling one can experience when the decision to make a large purchase comes along? The power of waiting and seeking out advice.
I am not suggesting I needed advice to make the purchase, however, that hesitation helped me avoid “buyer’s remorse.” Worst yet, I would have to see those shoes on an almost daily basis to remind me of the “bad” decision I made. Maybe I am going a bit far, however, we all have that dress, pair of shoes, or gizmo we bought out of an impulse and have lived to regret it later.
To continue from my article regarding making a budget, it is rarely the one-off expense that affects our budget, it is the daily activities that harm our budget long term. Unless of course, you succumb to the temptation of impulse buy, or instant gratification as my friend George the mortgage broker refers to, this will adversely affect your budget since you do it often. I reiterate, I am not suggesting you spend less and save more. I would have to take the same advice of eat less and exercise more. Like both scenarios, I am trying to offer the how.
We all strive to be happy. I want you all to be as happy as possible. You will never find happiness in a pair of shoes or a dress. Happiness is internal. Do things for the right reasons and you will rarely feel guilty or live with regrets. I wish none of us had to make the difficult choices I sometimes face my clients. I do not necessarily meet all my clients when they start out or when things are going well. I usually meet people when their money “hurts” them into action. Deep down I believe it is never too late, each and every moment is a chance to turn it around. However, the lifestyle you will enjoy when you no longer can work may not be the one you want.
My final thoughts are about balance. We need to find balance in everything we do in life, from eating, to spending, to work/life. In the end, it is about happiness. If you are happy and can say to yourself “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” then continue. The fear for me is that you may not know your money is “broke.” If your money hurts talk to someone, get your bearings, we all need to course correct sometimes. Financial freedom isn’t a myth.