By Mary Hunt
Feeling down in the dumps because you don’t have an iPad or a pretty new sofa? Wish you could take your hubby to a nice restaurant for his birthday, but alas, you are broke? Turn around your attitude and cancel your pity party with a simple tool: a wish list.
How you create your wish list is up to you. It can be a small notebook that you keep in your handbag, a scrap of paper on the refrigerator door or even a file on your computer. A written wish list is magical because it gives credence to your heart’s desires.
Once you turn it into a management tool, you’ll see how things will change for you. When you create a wish list, you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll stop making stupid impulse purchases, and you’ll stop digging your debt hole even deeper.
Here’s how it works: When a wish enters your mind, examine it carefully. Do you want an iPad because you have a good use for it or just because your friend has one and, well, it looks cool? If you can justify such a thing in your life, go ahead and add it to your wish list. Be sure to date the entry.
Once each week, review your wish list. It’s likely that the neon purple flatware that you just had to have last week will fade in importance. In fact, by this week, you might think it’s really dumb. What were you thinking? Great. Delete it from your list. Consider other items on the list, deleting or confirming as you go. Then look at the order in which the items appear. Which one still holds a burning desire? Move it to the top of the list. Arrange items in order of importance below No. 1. Repeat every week or so.
Once an item has remained at the top of the list for a period of time that you have designated for yourself, start saving for it, even if all you can put away is 10 bucks a week. So what if it takes you a year to save for an iPad? You’ll have a full 12 months to change your mind. If you still want it a year from now, you’ll own it outright with no new debt.
Want to add a high-tech dimension to your wish list? Go to http://www.SmartyPig.com. There you can set up an online savings account to save for a specific goal. You’ll have a lot of fun doing it. SmartyPig won’t charge you any fees, and it will pay you an amazing interest rate, given today’s economy. It will help you reach your goal even faster. And your money will be safe from you so you can’t borrow it back in a weak moment.
Now, don’t you wish you’d thought of that sooner?
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including her best-selling classic “Debt-Proof Living.” You can e-mail her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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