One of the simplest ways to save money is to ask yourself before each purchase (not including food and basic needs), do I need this or do I want it? If you reply, I need it – and can afford it – great. Buy it!

But if you reply, I want it, the next question becomes, Why?

Why are you buying your 6th pair of jeans if they are almost identical to pair four and five, which by the way have barely been worn?

Why, after your friend shows off a new giant-size TV, are you also buying a giant-size TV, if the television you own works perfectly fine and is a far more sensible size for your television room?

Why, after an unpleasant altercation with your spouse / employer / child are you buying that new item to cheer yourself up when you recognize the uplift may vanish all too quickly and possibly leave you feeling even more disheartened.

Why, if you’re down about your weight / job / life / etc., are you buying something to forget your depression when you know the problem will still be there big as a mountain after your purchase is forgotten?

Why are you buying that flashier watch – that hot new computer – that pricier ipod to impress others and raise your status in their eyes when, deep down, you sense these new possessions won’t give you any more pleasure than the objects they replaced.

And why are you still buying things when you don’t have the cash to cover those purchases on your next credit card bill on which you are already paying – horror of all horrors – that most dastardly thing called interest on your interest.

There are all kinds of reasons for wanting to buy something. And there are times we welcome the spicy kick of buying something just for fun – just for the heck of it.

But if too many purchases are sparked by discontent, depression, longing, envy, unrealistic projections or plain old keeping up with the Jones, the money that pays for these things might as well be thrown to the wind.

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