I am able to afford a Mercedes-Benz not because I can afford it.
Someone once asked me how come I wasn’t buying luxury ***insert everyday product of choice***, it’s because I am careful about my spending. Just because I can afford it, it doesn’t mean I should buy it.
Here are steps I follow to be able to afford luxury gifts to myself:
1. Shift your Mentality
As we tend to make more money, we tend to spend a little more just because we never had that opportunity. However, the best mentality is to live a life like you never had a pay raise. Maybe OCCASIONALLY give yourself a gift. I still buy groceries at an Asian market, not only do they sell Asian foods I’m used to from home, but they are generally cheaper than the big box grocery stores
2. Find what is Essential to YOU
If it ranks super high on your priority list, then maybe it’s worth buying full price. But I must put a giant DISCLAIMER on it. Just because it’s a must have because everyone else has it, it doesn’t mean you have to find shady ways to get it. I remember there was a teenager in China that wanted an iPhone really badly. Everyone had it but his family was too poor. One day he came home with an iPhone and a Macbook. It turns out he illegally sold his organs to trade for Apple products. Today, he’s paying the price by having to take medication for the rest of his life because his body cannot function without those organs. This story is extreme, but ask yourself “Is this really ESSENTIAL to you?”
3. What now that it’s essential?
Do I need this item to survive? If I need this to survive, is this the cheapest I can get this type of item? Every item can range from hyper expensive to super cheap. For example, a bottle of shampoo can go as expensive as $200-300 a bottle. Is it worth it? To me, no. The maximum I will ever spend is $15 on a bottle of shampoo and I find this works just as well. Even then, I still find paying $15 for a bottle of shampoo is still very expensive. You can get a very nice bottle of shampoo (salon quality) for $5-10 a bottle when on sale.
4. Can I afford it?
Just because I can afford it, does it take a big chunk of my income to pay for it? Do I have to put it on my credit card so I can pay it off in a few months? These are some questions I ask myself before I splurge on any item (big or small). Big items like needing a car to go to work, you’d have to ask yourself “Can I take public transit”? Is there another means to get what I need this item for?
5. Buy used when possible!
You save so much money when you buy something in the used market. Gently used clothes and shoes can be purchased at a giant discount. Do you think I buy my luxury items brand new? Not always! Electronics are other items that can be sold much cheaper on the used market. Someone could be using a laptop or cellphone for one year but is selling after a few months only because they are chasing after the newest model that came out.
6. Never buy at full price!
As an Asian, it should be embedded in you to NEVER, ever buy anything at full price. It’s in our blood! But in case you may have forgotten, buying anything on sale will save money here and there. Just like Russel Peters said, “Save $0.50 here and $0.50 there, you get $1 and you can go to the dollar store and buy something else!” If you accumulate everything over time, it can be a lot of money!
Follow steps 1 through 7!
By following all the steps above, you can save a lot of money over time. This is my secret in how I can afford my lifestyle.