Finance Friday: See No Evil

I know you listen to Kanye, right? You’re not still upset about the Taylor Swift thing are you? Well in any case, Kanye has some lines in his song Champion on his Graduation album:

And I ain’t sayin’ we was from the projects

But every time I wanted layaway or a deposit

My dad’ll say ‘When you see clothes, close your eyelids.’

I’ve always thought it was a funny line, and hubby says it to me when I say “ooh” about something I want. That’s much more than a punchline. Why did Kanye’s dad say this? (I’m not sure if this really happened but let’s pretend that he did) Kanye said it in the first two lines. They weren’t exactly poor but they were broke. His dad wanted him to avoid all temptation but closing his eyes (not always literally, but you get what I’m saying).

Think about it. We’re a society of overconsumption, unwise financial decisions, and overwhelming debt. Everywhere you look, there’s an advertisement, prompting you to buy something. There’s commercials, there’s billboards, there’s an upsell. If you’re not easily swayed by prompts of buying things full priced, the smart advertisers try to get you by saying how much money you’re saving. As I’m typing this, I just saw a commercial for Disney vacations, and it said you can save up to 70% off. Sounds awesome right? This morning I got an e-mail from Amazon and Woot saying the Flip camera, something I’ve been researching, was marked down to $40. I almost bought it too. Then I thought twice and closed the tab.

What did I do to avoid temptation? Well, I started by getting Groupon and Living Social out of my inbox. I would be tempted by deals I thought were awesome but knew I wouldn’t redeem. If I have the money and want something bad enough, I’ll search for it, I don’t want them seeking me. I avoid going to the mall. I look for keywords like “up to”, which usually means that that’s the maximum and the most unlikely option. I mention the potential purchase to someone else so they can say, “Briana are you out of your mind?! You don’t need that, you have this. You can’t afford it.” I also watch Suze Orman tell other people what they can’t afford, people in much better financial situations than I am, then pretend she’s talking to me.

See No Evil

Obviously, you can’t be blind to everything. Everywhere you turn there’s going to be a “deal” or “freebie” or upsell. But what you can do is think twice, count to 10, wait 30 days, or ask someone else what they think. A lot of purchases are made on impulse without thinking about the consequences and repercussions (affectionately shortened to “quences and cussions by my mom). Get rid of the temptation. Unsubscribe from those lists and be realistic with yourself when it comes to what you need and what you can afford.

What do you do to avoid the constant temptation of buying more things? What’s the hardest part about being financially mature?

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Comments (4)

  1. Reply

    Totally agree with you.  I could never understand the popularity of groupon or living social. Seems like you were inviting yourself to temptation every time you opened up one of their emails.

  2. Reply

    I have a hard time preventing myself from spending. I just love to shop! lol I even had to hide my savings account balance for the first couple of months as it built up so I would resist the temptation. But we live in such a consumer society that will jump on any semblance of a holiday as a reason to shop, it’s hard to go against the crowd.

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