How often do you find yourself with a commercial jingle stuck in your head? There’s a reason those jingles are so catchy. Companies are constantly competing for our money, and the best companies spend significant time and money studying our habits and developing strategies to get us to buy their products. We are living in the most marketed to country in the history of the world. If we are going to have financial peace, we need to become wise and shrewd consumers.
Companies market to us in a variety of ways. They use TV, radio, and the internet to convince us that we need their products. They provide financing options and convenient payment methods. We live in a time when purchases can be made with the click of a button. The danger in this is that we aren’t “feeling money” when we make these significant purchases. In order to have financial peace, we need to have our shields up so we are able to look beyond the overwhelming message of our culture that we need more stuff to make us happy.
Here are some steps that Dave lays out in order to gain power over our purchases:
-Wait overnight (don’t impulse buy on significant purchases!)
-Carefully consider your motives. No amount of stuff equals contentment or fulfillment. Ask yourself, is this a need or a want? (Hint: it’s very likely a want.)
-Never buy anything you do not understand.
-Consider the “opportunity cost” of your money. Ask yourself if there is anything else you could or should be using with that money?
-Seek the counsel of your spouse or accountability partner.
Although we are daily bombarded with advertisements and clever marketing schemes, it IS possible to live counter-culturally in our financial decisions.
Action Items This Week:
Define “major purchase.” What would make up a “major purchase” in your world? Singles, run this by your accountability partner to get their feedback. Married couples, commit to not make a major purchase without following the rules outlined in this lesson.
Discuss your zero-based budget. Talk to your accountability partner or your spouse about how easy or difficult it has been to live on your zero-based budget the past two weeks. Are there any adjustments that need to be made?
Do a marketing self-assessment. Look around your home and pay attention to the kinds of things you normally purchase. What marketing techniques are working on you? What do you regret buying? What purchases have you truly enjoyed? Making a mental note of these things will really help your buying decisions in the future.
-Now that the tactics are fresh on your mind, we want to make sure your new budget doesn’t get wrecked by a clever marketing campaign. What brand’s commercials, ads, or marketing do you find most compelling? Why do you think they are so effective on you?
-Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” What are some ways you can attain wise counsel before making a major purchase?
-It’s now been two weeks since you did your first zero-based budget. We know this can take some getting used to, so what questions do you have about your budget?
-Pull out your Monthly Cash Flow Plan form (you can find it here). Have you identified any areas that have been particular trouble spots for you in the past? In what areas do you feel you might be overspending?