Monday, March 7, 2016

Are You A List Maker?

Are you a list maker? I am. You saw how I plan out my day with my Franklin Covey planner in a prior post.

I make all kinds of lists: for groceries, for errands, for organizing, for books that I want to read, and for cleaning. Lists keep me from wasting time. A bonus is that it makes me feel good to check off something when it is done.

But the most important list that affects our net worth is our "wish list". This is a list that we keep of all of the things that we want that are luxuries. Many people keep wish lists.

But how do we use those lists? Do we just go out and buy what is on the list the next time I shop? Do we put it on a credit card even though we can't pay the bill in full?

No, that is not the way we do it. First of all, we would never purchase something that we didn't have the cash for. Sure we would put it on a credit card for convenience and the reward points. But our credit cards get paid in full every month. We are allergic to paying interest.

When we see something we want, we add it to our list. For example, it might be something to decorate our home. Or it might be a gorgeous coat. Or those shoes that we just have to have. Or  those monogrammed towels for our bathroom that are a must. We all see things we just have to have or need on a daily basis.

One example in the past two years for us was the new refrigerator we purchased. Our old side by side Kitchen Aid refrigerator was very old. It had been moved almost 3000 miles across country. It immediately had a problem as the movers plugged it in at our new home. We knew no repairmen in the area but we knew we had to find one who would come out quickly. I called the local in town appliance repairman. He came out within the hour and fixed the problem. So eventually we knew that we would have to replace it. So it went on our wish list and we kept using the old one. About 2 and 1/2 years ago, we decided we should start looking for a new one.

Anyone who has purchased a refrigerator recently knows how expensive they are. They can run you into the thousands of dollars. So for 9 months, we researched a new refrigerator. We searched Consumer Reports and other buying lists for a top rated refrigerator.  We searched online to see what we liked, what the yearly operating cost would be and the purchase price. We looked in many appliance stores and places like Best Buy and Sears. The one we wanted was very energy efficient at a cost of $86. per year and would cost us a little less than $ 3000. Our first car cost less than that. Yikes! Did we really want to spend that kind of money to keep our food cold and frozen? 

All of that time it stayed on the list. Then the last couple of months before we purchased, our old fridge started making horrendous noises that just got worse and worse. We had our appliance guy out and he said a bolt had come loose on the compressor. That is shouldn't hurt the performance or worse yet cause a fire. However the noise got to the point where it would wake us up at night. That is when we knew we had to buy a new one. However, we were not about to spend $3,000. for the refrigerator that we wanted.

So we scoured the ads that came with the Sunday paper week after week. Finally one Sunday, our appliance store ad had the exact refrigerator that we wanted on sale with tax and delivery for $1886. Within an hour we had purchased it. 

This is just one example of how we purchase what is on our list. It is our luxury list. The refrigerator was a luxury but it eventually became a need. But we had researched before it did so we were fully prepared to get the one we wanted at the best deal.

Any purchase over $ 50. goes on our list. Most items especially clothing, shoes, boots and things to decorate our home go on the list and never get purchased. They eventually get crossed off. You know why? Because at the time, we just had to have them. But later on we realize that we really didn't need that impulse buy. Luckily we have the list and we didn't buy them when we saw them.   

The list is really coming in handy this year because we are not buying clothing for all of 2016. It is also helping to increase our net worth because we are not making impulse purchases. 

So if you want to pay off debt or save for your future, start a wish list. Put every impulse purchase on that list that is over a certain amount. We do $ 50. but set your own amount. Then leave it there for a few weeks and see if you really need to make that purchase. In the meantime do your research. Don't ever pay more than you have to. Most of the time you will just cross it off your list. When you realize how much money you aren't spending, it will be all worth it. 

As a side note, see the 5 -12 packs( well you can see two in the picture but there are three more to the right of those) of Diet Coke to the left of the refrigerator. I picked those up at Super Walmart with the 5 Free Coupons from My Coke Rewards from the deal the end of last year. Hubby will be taking them down to my pantry in the basement now.  

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