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A Man Walks into a Doctor’s Office…

Worby wealth Management a Trusted Regina Financial Consultant talks about your Emergency Fund.

… and says, “Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm like this!” The doctor says, “Well, don’t move your arm like that!”

In this article that I came across, Life Hacker has some easy-to-give hard-to-follow financial advice saying, “Don’t want so much stuff!” So here’s my 3 step approach to trying to live this advice:

#1 – Say ‘no’ to advertising.

I don’t mind going to find a business that I know I need – I am in a car accident, I google “Regina Auto Body,” I need a good restaurant, I google “Restaurant near me.” What I don’t need is a weekly flyer, TV and radio ads blaring in my face or magazine ads telling me I need this stuff.

Rule #1 of marketing is ‘create insecurity.’ I don’t need to feel insecure! I know what I need and don’t need to be told and you are no different.

#2 – You are not a logical purchaser.

How Stuff Works, Stanford and NPR all have articles on how brain chemistry work against you during the buying process. In essence, your purchasing experience is accompanied by endorphins that give you a chemical reward for buying. This is a similar chemical reward when a drug like heroine is used – yes, shopping is a drug!

Just like Pavlov’s dog could be trained to salivate when a bell was rung, you are trained to want to purchase. Acknowledging this can be the first step. Understanding that the ‘rush’ of the purchase is not linked to usefulness but to the action may help you decipher which part of you wants to buy – the person or the addict.

Using things like a ‘pro and con’ list for major purchases can be very helpful. Making sure you take a 24 hour break between seeing and buying is another strategy. I bought a spring jacket that way. I knew I wanted one, I shopped and found one and waited a week before purchasing – I had zero buyers’ remorse! Even the shopping was better because there was no pressure to buy.

#3 – Pain with paying cash

This Carnegie Mellon University study shows that using a credit card essentially ‘anesthetized’ the pain of purchasing and that spending cash out of your wallet or purse actually caused the pain centres of the brain to light up while the credit card purchases did not.

Can you imagine leaving your credit cards and debit cards at home and going on cash alone?! Most people cannot. Give it a try! Put some cash in your wallet and say, “When it’s gone, I’m done,” and see how much better your monthly budget works.

So there you go, 3 steps – don’t be a mark for advertising, don’t be a conditioned animal and pay cash whenever possible and you will want less stuff, be happier with what you have and have more money and financial security.

Now stop moving your arm like that!

Chris Worby is a Trusted Regina based financial advisor and Wealth Management consultant servicing local Regina households and businesses since 2001.