It’s payday weekend once again. Or that time which commences the longest 2 weeks or 15 day period ever. I’m sure most of us face the ever recurring dilemma: to shop or not to shop.
I say, YES! Yes, we may shop, but let’s do it with restraint and with prior planning. I propose incorporating a shopping item in your budget.
This payday I realized I had not bought any decent new clothes for about two years now. I bought a few cheap clothes in 2014, but let’s face it, cheap clothes aren’t really classic in design and do not have the best quality. My clothes were now ill-fitting and generally, I needed a decent shopping trip.
As a recent shopping enthusiast-turned frugal shopper, I can tell you, shopping for me, was my Sunday past time in Makati. On Sundays, I would go to church and then to Greenbelt or Glorietta to window-shop and end up actually shopping. I especially enjoy shopping alone. I could appreciate the goods and not be rushed by others. I also ran the risk of being cajoled by salespeople to buy more than I need to.
A few years later, I’m now reformed and buy only when necessary. Oh I still buy my wants, but exercise better judgment by staying within the budget.
Anticipate your expense
I am currently a work in progress and cannot possibly survive in my current profession by wearing ill-fitting clothes. I’m not into trendy clothes, I prefer classic designs in great fabrics and quality stitching. These kind of clothes will last you several years, as my clothes have. You may spend much up front, but you won’t regret it.
For this payday, I incorporated “shopping” as an item in my budget. I needed to assign a value so I listed down all the things I wanted to purchase and assigned an anticipated cost to each one. I got the sum total and checked with my budget if I can afford such shopping amount. If I couldn’t, I simply deferred buying the other things that I currently cannot afford to buy.
Last month, I increased my saving rate to 40% from 35%. For this payday, I decided to cut the saving rate to 30% for this payday only. The bare minimum of 20% saving rate would’ve sufficed but I needed a buffer in case of times like these. Other than this, I also cut a few items from the budget (e.g. massages, hair treatments, etc.) Simply put, I rerouted some variable expenses into the shopping item.
What’s important is that the fixed expenses-items of the budget (savings, rent, amortization etc.) are kept mostly intact. This allows you to save, even while indulging your shopping habit. Shopping should not deter you from your financial goals. These changes to my current payday budget allowed me to incorporate a sufficient amount for the shopping item. I resolved to stay within the shopping budget.
My payday shopping budget constituted 22% of my half-month pay.
Shopping trip – in cash of course.
A stringent and frugal lifestyle has allowed me to become a millionaire. But as a recovering shopping enthusiast, I must, from time to time, succumb to my basic shopping urges. I will cut to the end – I stayed within my shopping budget. I did this by: (a) using cash to pay for my purchases; and (b) keeping a running balance in my head of how much is left of my shopping budget, while shopping.
At the end of my shopping trip, I was happy that I stuck to my shopping budget. Admittedly, there were weak moments when I contemplated just throwing caution to the wind! I’m so glad I didn’t. The momentary feeling of elation after shopping can only last so long. This way, we can balance funding our future without sacrificing our professional appearance.
How was your payday weekend?
20 something lawyer