Have you ever told yourself that you can’t afford a luxury item, only to purchase so many cheap, knock-off alternatives you don’t truly love, that it would have been better to have saved and purchased the luxury item?
This is a common mistake I see in my financial counselling. We think that we’re doing our wallets a favour by not buying the luxury item, but when all is said and done, we would have saved ourselves money, time, effort, energy, and frustration by focusing on what we could have done to save and purchase the luxury item in the first place.
The intention behind your purchases matters.
This doesn’t mean you should go out and splurge on things you can’t afford or purchase every luxury item you want but don’t really need. It means that sometimes setting goals to make more expensive purchases down the line, will serve you better than making the cheaper choice upfront.
When you are aligned with your values and can set a budget that reflects these, you’ll be able to make purchase decisions that make sense (or should I say cents) the first time around!
Creating purchase goals with intention
In order to make more intentional purchase decisions, consider what’s important to you. If you limit how much money you spend on things you don’t need just because they are cheap, you’ll have more money to spend on luxury items that you love and will last longer. Plus, these luxury items might have resale value!
Let’s swap this mindset:
I can’t afford an original piece of art from a local artist. Instead, I’ll just go to Ikea and buy six pieces of mass-produced art that I’ll later probably discard because I never really wanted them.
For this mindset:
Supporting local artists is important to me. I’d love to purchase a painting from local artist Jaya Krisnan, so rather than buying something temporary that I know I won’t like as much, I’m going to start setting aside $200/ month with the goal of purchasing the Krisnan painting by the end of 2022.
The above is my intention. I am currently saving for a beautiful painting by Jaya Krisnan. I really love the painting pictured below and I believe in supporting local. Therefore, I am saving so I can buy the painting. I will be purchasing with intention.
Questions to ask yourself to make more intentional purchase decisions
1. What are your values? What makes you happiest?
For some this might look like spending money on vacations and experiences, for others it might look like good quality clothes, and for others it might be home decor. It doesn’t matter what you value, what matters is that you recognize its value in your life.
2. What have some of your worst purchase decisions been? What have some of your best been?
Answering these questions will help you to gain clarity on where your values are in a more tangible way.
3. If you went through your home right now, how much money would there be in items you don’t use, still have tags on or simply don’t like?
This is something I discussed in my blog post, Money Madness: Financial Mistakes You Might Be Making And What To Do Instead. Oftentimes we buy things in the moment or based on emotions and the purchases simply aren’t worth it!
By going through your home and looking at the financial cost of some of your purchase decisions it can be a big wake-up call to the importance of making decisions with intention and purpose in the first place.
4. What does your current budget look like? Where are you spending money that you don’t need to be? Where would that money be better served?
These questions are important to determine your baseline. Recognize where you are spending money that isn’t doing you much good, and see if there are some changes you can make to put that money to better use.
Set purchase goals that reflect your values and work towards those by setting aside whatever money you can monthly. Yes, this requires patience and discipline but you’ll be much happier when you’re able to purchase your dream item!
For me, financial values look like intentionally purchasing:
- Products that are within the budget I’ve set aside for that item. I’ve set my budget up in a way that makes sense to me. It gives me the freedom to save for things that are important to me, while still giving me the financial security I need to take care of my regular expenses and other living needs.
- Products that are environmentally friendly or made sustainably. These are values I hold close to my heart, so it makes sense for me to spend more on items that reflect this.
- Products that are made in Canada or made by Canadian designers. What can I say? I’m proud to live in Canada and I want to support other small businesses in this country.
- Products that are local. COVID-19 has really helped to emphasize the importance of local businesses. So shop within your community! If you’re in the Ottawa region, check out two local businesses I regularly support: COKANNA for clothing or Red Raspberry Studios for local art.
- Products that serve a purpose. I like to limit how many of a particular item I have, which means that each item I do have is special, serves a specific purpose, and is something I love. For example, I only have a few purses because that’s all I need! I have one for my networking events, a leisure everyday bag, a beach bag, etc. Once all of my bases are covered, the only reason for me to buy another one in the future is if one wears out.
Getting clarity on your values and what intentional purchasing looks like for you will help you create the steps needed to afford that luxury item you have been eying and will make you feel more empowered in your spending habits. After all, you deserve to feel empowered with your money, and in charge of your spending decisions. By using your spending power to purchase things you want, love, and have saved for, you’ll feel much more confident in your decisions.