How My Accountability Buddy Became My Secret Financial Weapon
If I'm about to do something that will affect myself and others in a negative way, someone will call me out
A couple of days ago, I decided I wanted to go grocery shopping by myself. I know, I know -- wow Alyssa, what an interesting story that is not at all making me fall asleep with my eyes open. But it's about to get juicy, don't worry. You see, normally I go to Superstore with my husband. It's fun, we plan out our meals for the week, and we always stay on budget. However, this particular day I was feeling down (and because I've literally banned myself from the shopping mall, I figured the grocery store would be the next best thing) and ventured out alone.
That's right. I treated myself not with a new dress or pair of heels, but rather with some thin mint Oreos and the family size pack of hummus.
Without the mall, Superstore has become my guilty spending habit.
When I bring my husband he usually keeps my wild desire for cheese buns in control and I do the same for his unusual need to purchase family size bags of peppers. We balance each other out, we spend a modest $150 each trip, and we walk away feeling satisfied with a shopping cart filled with nothing but the items you see on all those health food blogs. We have a system.
This time. I went all "System? More like system-of-a-down, am I right ladies?"
I bought a ton of stuff from the middle aisles (which we know are merely black holes of processed food), and loaded up the cart. The worst part? I didn't even try to talk myself out of the items I picked up.
Organic quinoa? Yes, I'm a queen. Two types of pesto? You besto believe it. Huge jar of bruschetta? You say tomato, I say GIRL, YES.
Where am I going with all of this? Besides making you hungry.
Financial accountability buddies are seriously necessary. Whether you think you're an independent personality or not, it makes a massive difference to have someone looking out for your best interests.
Had I brought my accountability buddy to the grocery store, he would have reminded me that Oreos, buttered popcorn, and four boxes of wheat thins were not essential purchases that day. He would have saved me upward of $65 by eliminating products that weren't on my list. Yeah, you read that right. I went overboard by $65.
Having a support system while going through debt recovery was important to me, so keeping that support system to help me maintain my good habits should be the same.
Taking yourself on a shopping spree (of any kind) when you're having a bad day is never a good idea.
If I let myself spend money in a frivolous fashion each time I needed a pick me up, I would be right back where I was 3 years ago. In debt, maxed out, and over my limit.
Since those days, I've channeled my emotional spending into other outlets. Rather than go to the mall, I go to the gym. Rather than shop online, I create new outfits from my current wardrobe.
The most important thing I do to curb those bad days? Talk to a friend and let it out. I used to think it was better to push it down and cover it up, but all that got me was a new cover up. Support systems can completely change your attitude, and replenish your mental state when you think the only thing that will make you feel better is a chocolate fountain and some glitter nail polish from Sephora.
The rule of "Ask 3 Before Me" can stop you from doing something that isn't in your best financial interest.
Asking yourself is great -- but isn't it a little bit biased? The "Ask 3 Before Me" rule is the key to avoiding making a terrible and impulsive decision that could cost an arm and a leg.
What's this rule, you ask? It usually works in the business world first and foremost. Before asking your boss "how do I turn the volume up on my computer?", you should ask three other sources first.
How can we use this rule for our money? Easy. Before you make a rash decision, consult three sources. Those sources might be your accountability buddy, a review site (which usually turns me off all the products I'm going to buy online), and a friend (tweet me and I'll hollaback).
You can't always hold yourself accountable. Others can.
Spending most of my life on sports teams has taught me that if I make a big enough mistake, someone will call me out. If I'm not pulling my weight, someone will call me out. If I'm about to do something that will affect myself and others in a negative way, someone will call me out.
Getting myself an accountability buddy (and him knowing that he's my buddy), has been one of the greatest financial decisions I've ever made.
Whose your accountability buddy and what silly purchases have they stopped you from making recently? Let me know in the comments.