Frugal Friday--Say NO before you have to say no

8:27 AMHeather

I remember when I was about my son's age (GULP) my dad sat me down for a little heart-to-heart. He offered a few tidbits of wisdom about the coming teen years. Two things stood out to me. First of all, he said that he knew as a teenager I would think my parents didn't know ANYTHING and he was okay with my impending perception about his intelligence. He felt confident I'd come back around and move past my eye rolling, "my parents have no idea" stage. (See how right he was? I am quoting his WISDOM 20+ years later!). The second thing he told me was the best way to avoid temptations was to avoid the situations where I would be tempted. Simple enough, but great wisdom.

In my quest to tighten our financial belt, I have come back to my dad's philosophy. I cannot be tempted to impulse buy an item that I never see. Here's how I am applying this advice. I am tossing out catalogs without looking at them. I am unsubscribing from e-mail sales alerts. I am avoiding even going into a store unless I need to run in for a specific item. Even then, I am working to head straight for that item and avoid browsing. When it comes to our food budget, I am striving to keep some convenience foods, such as frozen pizza or frozen turkey meatballs, for the nights I might be otherwise tempted to eat out. And, for the love of my savings account, I am being ever-so-careful about Target and Hobby Lobby. You know, run in, grab only what's really necessary, make a quick escape and no one gets hurt.

Now, I know, I know--last week I said to take advantage of good deals. I hope I don't sound as though I am contradicting myself. Here's my intention. Know what you REALLY need and the upcoming gift needs and such. Keep your eyes open for those bargains and seize them. But, truly work to seek out what you need and avoid all those other temptations. If you come across a sale, ask yourself--do I need this? If you can't IMMEDIATELY pinpoint a true need, then step away from the sale! Or, better yet, when you have a need, research a great sale--one that you seek out instead of the temptations coming to you.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Evaluate your spending habits. Really take inventory of the temptations you encounter. Do you really need that catalog? If you love their stuff, when you need something you can always get on their website and check their clearance items. You don't HAVE to be tempted to impulse buy. Do you REALLY need that e-mail alert? Apply the same philosophy--if the highlighted sales items aren't things you need, delete it without reading through it all. Avoid "just browsing." It often turns into grabbing just that ONE thing. Today, what are some ways you can choose to say NO before you have to say no?

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