Have you ever wanted to buy something or go somewhere so bad but you couldn’t because of other financial obligations? Financial obligations that you’d prefer to be without?
That’s me every day.
I want a new wardrobe, a new car, a new apartment in the heart of a big city. But …
I need to buy groceries, make my car payments, pay my rent, save up to start paying off student loans in 6 months.
Although my wants are very necessary, my needs are a tad bit more imperative. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always stop me from recklessly spending my money.
So, I just got paid, and I’ve got a pretty little comma on my paycheck. IKEA, HERE I COME!
I don’t know what it is about that place that sucks me in.
It could be all the seamless setups they have. It’s like every scene of every dream I’ve ever had about my future home. Maybe it’s the fact that I have no choice but to walk through every section before I get to the hand towel that I originally went there for. Or, maybe it’s the 50 cent hot dog that tastes like a five-course meal at some Venetian castle.
It’s definitely not the feeling I get the next day after spending a third of my paycheck on a new floor lamp for my already well-lit apartment, shelves I don’t have room for and the throw pillows that will just end up on the floor. Curse my lack of self-control!
Sure, it feels good when I swipe my debit card through the machine, knowing I got a great deal. It feels good when I get home and start following directions to assemble everything, like some Lincoln Logs project as a kid. It feels good when my apartment looks brighter, more organized, more colorful.
It doesn’t feel as good when I realize my refrigerator and pantry are lacking the necessities: milk, bread, cereal, VELVEETA!
Now, it’s a battle between heart and mind.
Pay Your Bills First
I’m not one to return the things after I’ve paid for them and have already experienced the thrill of the purchase and creative placement. So, I tend to internally deliberate and provide more reasons why my purchase was a legitimate decision.
Persuasive, my little heart is. Round 1 goes to my heart, but the match almost always goes to my mind.
For some reason, satisfying my needs is much more fulfilling than satisfying my wants.
I feel good when I make a purchase with my hard-earned money, but I feel even better when I pay my bills on time.
The spontaneous purchases and splurging don’t replace my bills and responsibilities – although I wish they did.
Buying the things you want might make you happy temporarily but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, is it really worth it? Paying bills on time, buying the things you need, saving up for unexpected purchases; those are the things that will keep you happy in the long run.
Stay ahead of your finances. Budget so that you’re always making more money than you’re spending.
After a while of saving money, you’ll have enough to buy a couple of those IKEA setups. And if you’re lucky, a 50 cent hotdog might be thrown in there, too.
Cecillia Barr is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. She blogs about her extensive knowledge on student loans in order to help others reduce their debt and live financially independent lives.