I had some time today to formulate a list of rules for finances this year. In an effort to manage money better, rules need to be put in place. Mostly common sense, but it's good to have them written down anyway.
1. If it's not broke, don't replace it.
It is tempting to buy new items to replace items that have been around for awhile. New is fun, old is dull... at least, it's easy to think that.
2. Stock up on staples when they're on sale, but don't go overboard.
Buying meat and freezing it when it's on sale is a great idea. Buying ten bottles of soap because it's on sale is perhaps not a great idea. I will stock up on food, but probably not on things that last a long time - like laundry detergent.
3. Don't need it? Sell it.
We have a TV that we don't need. It's going up on Craigslist this weekend. I have dog items I don't need. They're up for sale on Facebook. If I don't use it, it's disappearing from the house. I'm sick of extra stuff taking up space in my small house.
4. Don't buy products for their packaging.
I have a degree in graphic design, so I understand how the Packaging Beast works. There are designers paid vast sums of money to design attractive packaging, in an effort to make people buy stuff they don't need... or at least pay more than they should. I'm a sucker for good packaging, which is why trips to Target are very dangerous. From now on, I'm going to fight the urge to buy something just because its wrapper is aesthetically pleasing.
5. If you weren't planning on buying it in the first place, it's not a true deal.
Don't buy stuff you don't need and/or won't use. Even if an item is on sale at an incredible price, if I don't need that item... I won't buy it.
I also saw a blog by a woman who is planning on spending no money on her child for one year, outside of medial expenses. I'd like to try that with my dogs this year. Outside of vet bills, food, entry fees and training fees, I'd like to put the kibosh on the "pet consumerism" that has probably sucked away more of my income than I care to think about. That means no new collars, no new leashes, no new toys, no new crates or crate pads. Nothing extra for their birthdays, nothing extra when they get new titles. They're dogs - they won't know if they don't get a Christmas present.