Only Buy What You Need And Learn To Live With Less

To begin saving we need to learn to live with less

The other day, I overheard a conversation between two teenage girls in a changeroom. The one was contemplating whether to buy a new item of clothing but her friends dissuaded her:

But do you like really love it? Because if you don’t really love it now in this flattering light you will love it even less when you take it home and try it on. Don’t buy it if you don’t love it. Because you sense are heightened or something…”

I smiled at the wisdom of youth. I did not have the same foresight as a teenager. I wanted to buy anything I could. I loved shopping and buying new things. Even if only worn once.

I have managed to save almost 40% of my income in the last year.

And yes having a budget is, of course, the key to saving money. Without a budget, you will be hopeless at saving money. But having a budget is one thing and sticking to it another. How do you stick to the budget?

Having the motivation to stick to one is hard to find when deciding whether those white Nikes are worth the money.

So what is the secret to sticking to a Budget, well my secret?

Only buy what you need.

Do you need those new pair of jeans? Only if you the ones you have at home at have holes in them or don’t fit you anymore.

Do you need those new pair of shoes? Only if the ones at home are falling apart, scuffed or broken.

Do you need that new computer or iPhone? Only if the one at home is broken and no longer works.

Do you need a new bed or couch? Only if yours is sagging in the middle.

The difference between people that have money at the end of the month and those that don’t is those that do only buy what they need. You can spend your entire salary in one month. There will always be more to buy. There will always be a new gadget or cute outfit that calls for your attention.

Don’t worry you won’t run out of things to buy.

You just to need to figure out whether you really need it.

Ask yourself the next time you are faced with a purchase, whether you need it. Is it necessary?

Sell your car

I made the radical decision at the beginning of last year to sell my car. My boyfriend and I made the decision to share his car. I was paying crazy interest rates. My boyfriend’s car is paid off. And our flat is close to both of our places of work. My boyfriend’s work is only about 1 km from our flat. He is a lucky fish. He can walk most days or I drop him on my way to work.

We were both a little nervous to only have one car. What if it caused problems and we ended up fighting about the use of it?

We don’t. Because we only need one car. On weekends we spend most of the time together and if we both need the car for something one of us will Uber. I Uber only about 3 or 4 times a month.

Selling my car meant I could save a whole of money.

I keep my expenses deliberately low. We don’t need very much to be happy, fed and content.

There will always be another cute dress you can buy.

I used to see a dress and think, I have to buy this! It is so cute I can’t not buy it! And then the following week fall into the trap of the same thinking. There will always be another dress to buy.

The world is not about to run of things to buy. And it most probably never will.

Black Friday was depressing in South Africa. South Africans went crazy, spending a total of R 7 million in online transactions and a total spend of R 6 billion. What did all these people buy? Surely if they needed what they were buying, they would not have waited for Black Friday. It should be called Debt Friday.

A lot of people live in poverty in South Africa. Black Friday reminded me so much of Casinos and gambling. A scheme that preys on the poor and vulnerable in society. That hooks people in with false promises and leaves them high and dry. Black Friday is not a reason to go shopping.

Even if it is a bargain, it is still a waste of money. Because unless you would have bought that item anyway, then its a waste.

In the end…

Buy only what you need to save more money. Nothing you buy now will not be available in the future. It will be. So don’t stress. Don’t rush to the shops when you see a ‘great deal’. It’s probably not a great deal.

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store