Call it what you will: retail therapy, a “high” felt after making a purchase, a droplet of normalcy into the bucket of hard times, but people tend to buy things when they’re feeling uneasy. Our debt counselors realize this happens.
Am I about to chastise you? Lecture about the ridiculousness of human nature and how you have to conquer your need for a small comfort?
If you’ve read my other blog posts, you’ll probably know the answer is no. Treating yourself isn’t bad.
But let’s take an inquisitive look at what’s going on and how to include these purchases in how we look at our cash flow. It’s important to not let treating yourself get you into credit card debt. I found an article in the USA Today on October 3rd called “Shoppers indulge in little luxuries.” The writer, Laura Petrecca, cited statistics such as:
“Nearly 15% of [Halloween] revelers will dress a pet- up 43% from 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. Total spending should reach $6.9 billion, up 18% from last year.”
“Transatlantic Foods’ [a specialty food supplier] sales of Aux Délices des Bois brand truffle butter to grocers grew 23% in the last year. A pound of truffles may cost thousands, while truffle butter retails for $8 to $10 for 3 ounces, says co-owner Thierry Farges.”
“[Nail] products had $14.2 million in department store sales from January through August, up 61% from 2010. Nail salon sales have risen, as well. Caitlin Moldvay [a market researcher] says: ‘Spending on a manicure they can get for a fairly low price is one way to indulge without breaking the bank.’”
And therein lays the keystone for these otherwise strange, upwardly moving numbers. I say in my seminars that each person I talk to works hard at their job, looking for a job, or studying in school. These days, people are not struggling because they lack the effort. It’s tough out there. So we have to figure out how to spend our money in ways that make us feel alive, while not racking up [more] debt. Treating yourself must be done strategically.
Setting aside a preset amount of money for treating yourself is important. Let’s say within your budget you can set aside $20 of play money a week. Maybe you love getting a manicure. Or buying some OPI polish and giving yourself that mani-pedi. Maybe you save up 2 week’s worth of your fun money because you’re going to dress Fluffy up like a shark for Halloween, because who doesn’t love shark week?
The key is to NOT spend more than you’ve allotted yourself. This helps you in responsibly treating yourself. I like to take my fun money out in cash so I know when I’m out. Some people spend on a debit card that does not allow spending past the limit. (Ask your bank if there have been any debit card fee changes, btw).
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.