The Difference between Spending and Wasting

Both spending and wasting money  involve having money leave your possession. The difference lies in what you receive in return. This may seem self-evident, but money and its use is a much more emotional subject than most of us will admit to, and in the heat of the moment things can get confusing. There are people who make impulse buys as a matter of course, who shop as a form of emotional comfort or who have a shopping addiction. These are the people that have money issues directly relating to waste.

But there are also those who are so afraid of making a bad decision or being wasteful that they are paralyzed into never buying anything at all. The danger here is not normally wasting money but rather wasting life. Money is one of the tools we use to accomplish the things that are important to us. One of the worst things about poverty is the loss of opportunities and experiences. Whatever amount of money you have flowing through your life needs to be managed, not hoarded. That being said, when a hoarder does decide to spend they often do it poorly. Pent up needs and desires combined with lack of practice do not make for good buying decisions.

So what can you do to make sure that you are spending in a healthy life-affirming way and not wasting or hoarding? First ask yourself some serious questions about your past spending behavior. You probably already have an inkling about where you fall as regards this behavior. If you are a waster, try putting things back on the shelf for at least twenty-four hours as cooling off period. If it is a fancy meal or a service that you crave, put off making the appointment or reservation.If you still really want it after the cooling off period, do some checking to make sure it is a good deal. If you are a hoarder, make a list of things you really want. Pick ONE of them, check your bank balance, do some comparative shopping, and just buy it. Try this at least once a month. Even if you are desperately poor. Just make your list with things that reflect your ability to pay. Sometimes, for me, my one thing was a real latte at a busy cafe. Just getting out where there were people and treating myself was an enriching experience. See if you can find something small that will make your life better. This is not a waste but a gift.

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