By Melissa Tosetti
“How many times have you walked into a store like Target for toothpaste and walked out pushing a shopping cart?”
This is the question I ask at the beginning of my presentations. Usually, before I even finish the sentence, hands shoot up and the room begins to laugh in “guilty” agreement.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Target! What I don’t like is their diabolical genius at marketing!
Not only does it get us to part with our money, distracting us from our bigger financial goals, but it results in clutter.
With each trip to Target or Target-like stores, we bring more and more into our homes until we’re tripping over our “stuff”. Then, we run to the organizing store to buy stuff for our “stuff”.
This article isn’t about NOT spending money – it’s about cutting the clutter and other unnecessary “stuff” and focusing your spending on what you really WANT.
The most powerful tool for staying focused while shopping and streamlining spending is a Spending Book.
A Spending Book is a blank notebook that you can purchase to use to list the items you want to purchase. You can also create your list using an app such as Evernote.
A Spending Book helps keep you focused and ensures that you’re spending money on the things you want, rather than getting distracted by what catches your attention while shopping.
When you think about something you’d like to purchase or that you need such as a pair of boots, casserole dish or outfit for an upcoming wedding, write it down in your Spending Book.
It’s also an excellent place to keep the details of the purchases you need to make such as the dimensions of a frame you need to buy, the type of ink your printer uses or the type of light bulbs your lamp needs.
Smart shoppers know to make a grocery list when they go shopping, to ensure they purchase the food they need and to avoid getting trapped by impulse purchases. A Spending Book is just like a Grocery List, but for the other stores you shop at. Just as you would at the grocery store, only purchase those items you intentionally want to buy – the items listed in your Spending Book.
This process also helps you take better advantage of sales. Before heading to your favorite stores, visit their websites to check their weekly sales ads. Look to see if any of the items that are on sale happen to coordinate with the items in your Spending Book. If so, it’s the perfect time to pick it up.
In addition to the purchases you want to make, you can also list the movies you want to see, the restaurants you want to go to, the places you want to visit and the activities you’d like to do. It’s a powerful tool for living a purposeful life.
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Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 450 individuals and families to create Spending Plans.
Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.
If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.
If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page.