Remember how I joked that I might just go and spend my large income tax return on a puppy? Well, that was only kinda/sorta a joke.
You see, I’ve been wanting a dog, pretty much since I moved away from home at age 17. I’m a big fan of dogs, and not having one in the house has never felt quite right.
I solved the problem of not having any pets at all by making a big impulse buy when I was 19. My then-boyfriend-now-fiancée is allergic to cats. So instead of picking up a regular old kitten for free at a nearby barn like a normal person, I dropped some serious cash on a hypo-allergenic cat. Not really something that made a lot of sense, as a 19 year old university student with absolutely zero cash on hand. But it was probably one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made, and I’ve never regretted bringing Mia into our household.
Last week I came pretty close to doing the same thing again, but with a dog this time.
Dogs Cost A Lot
If you are anything like me, and you want something, the emotional side of your brain will do anything in its power to convince the logical side of your brain to buy that something. Whether it’s a new TV, a car that is a bit out of your budget (the emotional side of my brain won that battle) or a new dress, the emotional side of the brain can rationalize and justify any purchase.
Well the emotional side of my brain was hard at work last week convincing the logical side of my brain that now was a good time to get the dog I’ve been wanting for the past 5 years. For the record, it so is NOT a good time. All of the more obvious barriers in my journey down the dog adoption road were washed away when I decided to keep a portion of my tax return for “fun stuff”. But there are still at least 10 good reasons why a dog would not make a whole lot of sense right now. But that didn’t matter, because I wanted one, and I was prepared to do what I had to do to get one. Holy sense of entitlement batman!
The Power of the Dissenting Spouse
Back when I first graduated from University, I went on a bit of a shopping binge. Much to my fiancé’s dismay, I overspent on clothes 3 months in a row. To help myself rein in my spending, I started confiding in him before I made any big purchases. Together we would go through the pros and cons of a purchase, whether I could afford it, etc, before I made any big decisions. If I was feeling particularly weak, a quick text message was all it took to get me back on track. This worked a lot better than my previous purchasing tactic, which was to buy first, hide the goods, and then pretend like I’d “always had it” in order to avoid feeling guilty.
Last week, I knew the logical side of my brain was losing the dog-or-no-dog battle, so I once again harnessed the power of the dissenting spouse. We sat on the couch and discussed all of the logical reasons why getting a dog right now is not the best choice for us. He effectively talked the emotional side of my brain down off of the ledge, and got me thinking clearly once more. Crisis averted.
Now is not a good time for a dog, but I’ve just about had it with waiting for the “right” time. So we put in place a logical and well thought out plan to bring one into our lives down the road. Just having a plan like that has already done wonders to calm the emotional side of my brain on this issue. I successfully employed a strategy to avoid an impulse buy, and both my relationship and my wallet are healthier as a result.
What are your strategies for avoiding impulse buying? Does your spouse help or hinder your spending habits?