Be Kind to Your Pocketbook: 3 “Tricks” to Help You Spend Wisely—and Spend Less!

Woman looking shocked holding money in a fan on a pink background

Money is not a topic we look at directly very often here at Fierce Kindness, and yet how we spend it can affect our physical and mental wellbeing—as well as our quality of life.

So with all the sales and promotions coming up over the next couple of months (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Week, January Sales etc.), it’s important to be kind not only to ourselves—but also to our pocketbooks or bank accounts.

And boy do all those big corporations know how to get us buying stuff! We are manipulated with time-pressure, social pressure, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), our desire to look cool/attractive/young, our values (eg. be a good parent), to have the latest _____ and more. And the tactics used go deep into our psyches.

So below are 3 super-easy ‘tricks’ you can use when making a purchase to help you beat the marketers, stay on track with your budgeting—and spend more wisely!

But first, here are 5 easy ways to spend less during the sales:
  1. Use the 3 Step Process below (or choose one of the steps to focus on).
  2. Set a budget—and stay within it!
  3. Make a list beforehand. Then only buy things in sales that you already know you need or want.
  4. Pause. Depending on the importance (and cost) of the purchase, give yourself an hour, a day or even a week to pause and reflect.
  5. Visualise something big that you’re saving for. Consider that an unnecessary purchase will mean your big goal will take longer to save for.

Here are the 3 Quick Steps to Spend Wisely—and Spend Less

Follow all 3 steps, or just choose one of these ‘tricks’ to focus on.

STEP 1) Is it a ‘Need’ or a ‘Want’?

This first step is a powerful tool when shopping—and a huge one for me:

  • Simply ask yourself, “Is this a need or a want?”
  • IMPORTANT: The goal of this question isn’t to stop you buying things you want… Instead it’s to make sure you’re buying consciously.
  • If it’s truly a need, and if that purchase is within budget and meets your requirements, then go for it!
  • But if it’s a want, then that creates a little gap—and that gap allows us to check-in and see if buying this thing is really best for us.


  • If your purchase is a want, go to Step 2)
  • If your purchase is a need, go to Step 3)

STEP 2) Love it or Use it!

So, you want this item, but you don’t need it! So now ask yourself, do you either:

  1. Love it or
  2. Have a Specific Plan to use it

Let’s move on to Step 2a) below.

Step 2a) Love it

In this step consider how much you love this thing out of 10.

  • If you love it at 8/10 (or more) scale, great! But will you actually use it?
  • And if it scores 7/10 (or less), then it’s just a like. But perhaps you have a specific plan for it?

NEXT: Now you know how you feel about it. It’s time to go to Step 2b)

Step 2b) Use it

  • Sometimes we buy things we love, but we don’t have a practical use for them. Or we secretly know we’ll never use it. Well, that’s a waste!
  • And sometimes we buy something that’s OK, but it’s so practical that we use it all the time!

So, this step is all about seeing if you will actually use this purchase.

  • So, ask yourself: Do I have a specific plan for when I will use this purchase?

The word specific is important here. Because we can buy a pair of shoes on sale and plan to wear them. But that’s not the same as having a specific plan: I’ll wear those shoes to the Staff Holiday Party (and at Christmas and New Years). Or I’ll use those shoes to walk to work—starting tomorrow.

Here’s a personal example: recently there was this recipe I was keen to try (Citrus Olive Oil Cake) that needed two 6 inch cake tins. But I held off buying more baking equipment until…

…I had some friends coming over who love Citrus Olive Oil Cake. Usually I buy a cake, but this time, it gave me a good reason to buy those cake tins instead! And as it turned out, buying the cake tins was cheaper than buying the cake.

So those cake tins weren’t a need. I didn’t love them. But I did have a specific occasion where I planned to use them.

NEXT: If you have a specific planned use for your purchase, (even if it isn’t a need), go to the final Step 3).

But if you don’t need it, don’t love it, and don’t have a plan to use it, why are you buying it?

STEP 3) Apply the $1 Rule!

All too often we think what matters most is to spend as little as possible. And in some ways this is true.

But I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you bought a cheaper version of something and it broke, or wore out quicker, or you didn’t really like it—so you didn’t use it.

So here’s a quick technique to apply to reduce the guilt when shopping:

Simply take the cost of the item, estimate how many times you’ll wear/use it, and divide the two. If it costs less than $1 (or less) per use (and you can afford it!) then give yourself permission to buy it.

What this means:

  • A $500 quality winter coat that you’ll keep and wear for a number years could meet the $1 rule.
  • But a $15 fashion top that you wear 3 times would not.

Similarly buying quality furniture that you love and keep for 10 years may meet the $1 rule, whereas buying something cheaper that breaks, wears out or you simply hate and get rid of in a year or two may not.

The idea behind this “rule” is not to limit your spending. Instead the goal is to reduce the guilt so you can spend your money wisely.

The $1 rule gives you permission to buy something—even more expensive things—as long as you make good use of them. And this means you buy more of what matters, and spend less on frivolous or impulse purchases! Which is also good for the planet…

Wrap-upFierce Kindness Logo

So there we have it. 3 easy steps or ‘tricks’ you can use when making a purchase to spend less—and spend more wisely.

You can choose just one of the steps to focus on:

  1. Need or Want?
  2. Love it or Use it?
  3. The $1 Rule

Or use all 3 steps to be as wise as possible with your spending! Because taking care with your finances (and spending) is being kind to you.

PS. And remember that sometimes we all need Fierce Kindness—a little bit of extra willpower—to ensure we don’t make unnecessary impulsive purchases and that we stay focused on our bigger goals.

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Change the world. Start with you!

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