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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Do I Want It or Need It?

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Do I Want It or Need It?

Remember when you were a kid and said, "But mom, I NEED that!"...Funny, we still do this today. I can't tell you the countless times I've told my husband I have to go to the store because I NEED should be because I WANT something. So how do you really distinguish what you need or want besides running through the basic food and shelter thing or the list of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, at least the basic ones?

Follow these steps before making a purchase, and you'll get a better clue if you really need it...want it...have the money for it...can really use it...or are you throwing your money away or worse, getting deeper into debt? Let me tell you, it was pretty disheartening watching the news this morning. I think I counted the word "recession" at least 20 times in a one hour newscast. Our houses are full of junk and stuff we don't need or want. We Americans have let this "credit monster" gain such control of us....that we are starting to flounder...but alas, that's another story all together. So, here's what you do:

  • You and your husband decide a purchase amount where you must consult each other. At what point do you NOT buy something without discussing it first?
  • Set an amount in your own mind when you will refuse to buy it....sleep on it. Is it going to be $50, $100 or more?
  • When I see something I like, I write down the specifics, including the price (in my little spiral notebook I carry in my purse), and then LEAVE.
  • I sleep on it at least a day...thinking about if I really need the item. Is it replacing something that has gone bad? Is it something I always wanted and will help me complete some task faster or more efficiently? Is it really a bargain at that price? If it's clothing you're interested in, most stores will hold it for you for 24 hours too...just ask.
  • Go online, and research prices and read what folks have to say about it. I like Amazon and Epinions best for that. But you can also google whatever product it is and "review" and more opinions should come up. I almost bought this nifty looking steam vac the other day. Thank God I went home and read about it online. No wonder the darn thing was on sale. What a piece of crap!
  • If the thing is not on sale, set aside a certain amount of money every week, which you will use to buy that item once you decide it is something you can really get some use out of. More times than not, once you have the money saved up, the thing comes on sale! I've had this happen more times than I can count.
  • And don't use the excuse, "they only had three left"...there will ALWAYS be another thing, whether it's at that store, another store or on the internet. Unless you are looking at an antique or a work of art...this excuse doesn't hold any water...sorry.
  • While you are looking online, you may also find it at a cheaper price. Be sure you check out the retailer first, to make sure they are legitimate AND stand behind their products AND ship promptly and efficiently.
  • As a sidenote, if you pay with a credit card, be sure you can pay off your credit card bill at the end of the month. It makes no sense to get a good bargain, then not pay off your bill and pay 12 or 24% (whatever your credit card rate is) of whatever amount it was, again the next month.
I personally have been looking for an external computer hard drive. I have the Black Friday prices in my book, as well as the prices currently online. I have even been watching our local Compusa store, which is going out of business. But so far, they only have the thing at 20% off. I can get this particular model I am looking cheaper at Circuit City...but that is still not good enough for me. As of this morning, I still haven't bought anything. I continue to watch and wait and use my smaller back-up drive in the interim.

What techniques do you use to decide when you are going to buy something? Do you save up the money or do you put it on a credit card? Are you impulsive or are you more wary? Please share your ideas!



Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

More frugal articles at the Festival of Frugality!

January 23, 2008 at 3:41 AM  
Anonymous Valerie said...

Thanks! I had to print this out and put it in my day planner. I am such an impulse shopper. I hope this well help me.

January 24, 2008 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous A said...

I saw this on PaidTwice!

What a great article! I can always use more advice- I am a master Impulse Buyer! Right now my main stratagy is not going into stores! (Sadly- it is a little boring!)

Thanks for the Great Article!

January 24, 2008 at 8:05 PM  

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