The school holidays is one of those times of year when families tend to spend more money than expected. Little trips here and there, food, arts and crafts, toys…even free activities have an associated cost.

So just how do you curb the spending – and teach the children how and why it’s important to think before splashing out? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy:

Question 1: Will this purchase make a difference in my life?
Yes, it certainly does sound drastic, but sometimes in life we have to be! If you really can do without what you’re about to blow money on, and money is tight anyway, then it probably won’t make your life that much better or easier to warrant the spend.

Be honest with yourself and nip that temptation to spend in the bud.

Question 2: Do I have something similar already?
Another black dress? Another pair of indigo blue skinny jeans? Another Barbie doll? Another Spiderman costume? The list could go on…and it usually does when you’re a spendthrift.

Try to get out of the rut where you convince yourself that the new purchase is completely different because it has one unique feature that your existing one doesn’t. If you can’t resist the temptation, then go back to question number 1.

Question 3: Do I really need it?
The answer is probably “No”, but like many shopaholics, you might find yourself justifying the spend to yourself. You need it because your other black dress doesn’t have beads on the collar and this one does…but then you have a necklace that could do the job already!

Intuitively, we already know the answers to this question, but here is another checklist to help you to not convince yourself to buy:

Is it broken beyond repair? (If “No” then walk away)
Is it an item you’ve had on your shopping list for at least a month? (If “No”, then walk away)

Question 4: Can I get it cheaply elsewhere?
Shopping smartly can often mean that we can get away with the odd treat every now and again, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to splurge.

However, if you have failed at not spending by the time you get to question 4, then at least wise up and do your research before you part with your cash.

Use Google and click on the ‘Shopping’ tab in the search results to see if you can find your item cheaper elsewhere. Don’t just part with your cash in store because the moment takes you.

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