Days 9 & 10: Your 30-Day List and How To Stop Spending To Impress

Impulsive spending is such a struggle for most people I know, including myself.  Over at Frugally Sustainable, I finished Day 8 a few days ago and realized that Day 9 and Day 10 just really deserved one post for me to talk about them.

The 30-Day List is such a simple idea.

…and yet…

It is absolutely genius!  I’ll admit I’m pretty sure my mom told us something similar growing up, basically to give it some time and then decide if we really wanted to spend money on a particular thing.

The basics of the 30-Day List:

  1. Write down an item you want to purchase along with its price and the day you wanted to buy it.
  2. Spend 30 days dwelling on whether this item is worth purchasing and whether it will positively impact your life and/or your family’s life.
  3. After the 30 days are up, one of two things should happen.
    1. You realize you didn’t actually need to make that purchase, so you just scrap that item off our list.
    2. You realize you do really want or need to make that purchase, so you take some CASH and you go purchase that item and only that item.

This is a challenge, for sure!  During tax return time, I think it is much more difficult to accomplish though while most of us have lots of extra cash just… sitting there.  It reminds me of this hilarious Cracked article called “The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor”:

That’s the key, though. When you don’t have the extra cash, you don’t know how to handle it when you do get some. When you escape that level of poverty, and you find yourself having extra money for the first time, you eventually learn how to manage it. I can watch people play guitar all day and get the basic idea. But unless you put one in my hands and make me start strumming, I’m never going to learn how to play the damn thing. Like anything else, it takes practice, and the poor never get the chance.

I felt like this fit a lot of what goes into Day 10: How to Stop Spending Money to Impress Other People.

I’ve been in a struggle with this my whole life, but let’s be real here, I don’t know much of anyone in my world who doesn’t struggle with this.  There is this inherent connection made by our consumer culture that not only informs us but manipulates us into feeling the need to shove over cash for stuff to make everyone love us.

That is not how it works though, not really.

Wouldn’t you rather impress people by your character?  By what your life?  With your actions?  With your thoughtfulness?

Instead of spitting out money that could be used to help others and yourself and the environment, why not DO something with yourself?

  1. Give freely of your time and energy. There’s probably no better way to impress someone than to give of your precious time and energy without expecting anything in return.
  2. Prioritize family. When we prioritize our spouse and our children other people take notice and are genuinely impressed by our devotion. Spend time together, do things everyone enjoys, and invest in each others lives.
  3. Discover and develop you gifts. Do you know what impresses me? When people live out their passions. When they have discovered their God-given gifts and are working hard to develop them. We often refer to this as authentic living…I just call it “being you.” You are a very special, unique, one-of-a-kind individual, embrace it.
  4. Put off consumerism. Stop trying to live like everyone else. Turn off the TV, reduce shopping trips, learn to do it yourself. Start talking about the homemade laundry soap you just made and the people around you will be impressed.
  5. Speak encouraging words. There are already so many negative and violent people in the world. Be different. Use every encounter you have with someone else to speak a word of positive encouragement into their life. Yes…even if you don’t really like him/her…find something nice to say.
  6. Find time to listen to others. I’m always impressed by those who listen. Just like all of you impress me everyday by listening to my crazy thoughts and ideas! No really…in our world where the ability to multi-task is king, find time to stop and listen. Put down the cell phone, turn off the TV and listen.
  7. Inspire. What if we cared more about inspiring others to greatness than we did impressing them? What then? How could that change our society? Let’s not try to impress others…let’s inspire them!

Next, you take a deep breath and then remember that those people who would judge you based on the stuff you purchase probably are not the kind of people you should be working so hard to impress.

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One Response to Days 9 & 10: Your 30-Day List and How To Stop Spending To Impress

  1. I used to think we needed to buy stuff to impress people but we were wrong. That lasted in our early 20’s for a short while until we started saving for the future. I think if you can master your flaws as a consumer early in life it will help you reconsider impulsive buys. I think this is why I feel it is important for parents to teach their children about money and budgeting when they are young. Great tips in this post!

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