Shannon here! The post you are about to read is a rare guest post here on GrowingSlower. When Heather from My Overflowing Cup approached me with an article entitled “Why I Kissed Costco Goodbye,” I almost choked on my coffee right before deleting her email. You all know how much I love Costco because it saves me a ton on groceries. However, after reading the rest of the post, I knew this would be a great read for those of us with tight budgets that still need to budge. Please welcome Heather as she shares her very honest perspective and a little tough love we all need to hear from time to time.
This is not an anti-Costco post.
I really, really like Costco. I’ve been a member since it was called Price Club.
The thing is, though, times are tough. And things that we used to consider necessities are now viewed as luxuries.
When finances are tight, one of the best things we can do is honestly distinguishing between needs and wants. The needs stay, while the wants become negotiable.
Costco, for us, has moved from the need to the want category.
I used to consider it a need. However, in our current financial state, we can no longer justify shopping there when the closest one is two and a half hours away from us. We used to not mind the gas it took to drive there because we could really stock up and save.
These days, however, we can’t justify the cost of the membership or the gas to get there. This was a tough decision for us to make. It was hard to let go, but it was necessary.
The thought behind this post is not to complain that I no longer have a Costco membership, but to get us to think about distinguishing between needs and wants.
If you are struggling financially, have you taken an honest look at how much of your hard earned dollars are making their way into each category?
If you live near a Costco, then this may be a no-brainer for your family. For mine, it doesn’t make sense anymore.
Is it something else for you?
Maybe it’s time to ask some tough questions.
Do we really need a land line when we all have cell phones? Do we need to pay a cable bill each month when we can stream shows and movies online for much less?
Are our second and third vehicles a true necessity or expensive items that, while convenient, also carry a financial burden?
Please don’t get me wrong – my intention isn’t to pick on your spending habits.
I’m simply making the case that things change. Incomes fluctuate. Bills appear monthly. Debt drowns.
When you’re needing to make a change in your finances, I’m offering you a different perspective.
4 tips for Distinguishing Between Needs and Wants:
1. Honestly Evaluate Needs and Wants.
There is nothing wrong with spending money on our wants. The key is to do it responsibly so that we don’t end up with future regrets.
2. Can you come up with an alternative?
We’ve given up going to the movies, but we are regular renters of DVDs from our local library.
3. Focus on your goal.
Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Do you desire to get out of debt? Are you saving for something special?
Before you spend money you might regret, ask yourself if your purchase is more important than your goal.
4. Embrace gratitude.
No one likes giving things up, but when we focus on how much we have, it makes letting go a little easier.
Sure, I can’t go out to eat nearly as often as I’d like, but I am thankful to have an abundant supply of delicious, healthy food in my own kitchen.
A thankful perspective changes the way we see everything. We can focus on the lack or the abundance. It’s all about perspective and priority.
What seems indulgent for one family is basic for the next. I’m not here to point fingers or to make judgments about how people spend their money.
I’m simply trying to encourage new thought processes to help us best utilize the money we do have.
Heather is living out her dream of living like Laura Ingalls on 20 acres with her husband and two teenage sons. While her family has been hit hard by the economic downturn, she has found ways to thrive on a reduced and unpredictable income. It is her desire to encourage others with the things she has learned as a result. If you’d like to read more about faith, food, and frugality, Heather can be found blogging at My Overflowng Cup.