Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lesson Learned: Don't Buy Sh*t you Don't Need

As a senior in high school, a wise recent graduate gave me this piece of advice: Don't buy shit you don't need. It sounds simple but it's oh so true. As you may have seen in my profile, my bank account has never had more than $600 at any one time. Such are the trials of being a broke college student. This gives me little room to buy even the stuff I need. But, I've found a way to waste money on stupid things like candy and posters. I'm not saying not to treat yourself every once and a while. Hey, after getting that first big paycheck why not splurge on something you've been wanting? I think the key though is time. Have you been wanting that DVD set for some time? Did you see the dress of your dreams and have been waiting until you had enough money to buy it? In that case I say go for it. As a general rule though I like to keep such "reward" type purchases to less than %10 of my funds.

Those purchases are, however, very different from your typical college impulse buy. I once spent $30 on Halloween candy. Quite frankly, that is just shit nobody needs. As a college student, no one is trick or treating, and there is already so much out there threatening you with the freshman 15 -- why bother? Now your tendencies may be a bit different. You may impulse buy clothes for example. While it's easier to defend an impulse purchase of clothes than candy, it's still not a very smart buy. Put simply, there's only so much clothing you will actually wear. If you actually want to save money -- don't buy new clothes too often. If you still really like shopping (which is totally understandable) limit yourself to a monthly budget. (And make sure to give away clothing that you don't wear anymore. Charity is a good thing even for the broke :) ).

So my fellow broke college students, I urge you to think about what you're buying the next time you're out shopping. Is it something you truly need to buy? If not put it back and see if you're still thinking about buying it in a few days or so. You will save yourself the frustration (and money) of making impulse buys.

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