Know what you’re going to spend before you spend it. It’s more than good advice, it’s a requirement for financial success. Unless you have infinite monetary resources, you can’t just make purchases without having some idea of how much you’re about to spend. Without doing so, you’re just a purchase or two away from blowing your budget. My wife and I went through an experience in the past week that reminded us just how important this advice can be.
Super Sized Skin Care Bill
Over breakfast, my wife mentioned she needed some skin care products. This would be our first purchase with the discretionary funds of an upcoming weekend. She had a gift card for the skin care retailer she uses, and gave me an estimation of the remaining balance. She sent her order via text to her contact, and later that morning I received an email invoice for the rest.
The remaining balance was more than twice what my wife had estimated.
Holding Up The Line
Here’s another example. In line at a clothing store checkout counter, I found myself behind another customer purchasing a large pile of items. She was surprised by the total. While standing at the checkout counter she removed items, watching the total change on the cash register screen until the amount was to her liking.
Similar Situations, Different Decisions
Both of these scenarios could have been avoided. My wife and I could have researched the product prices ahead of time. The person in front of me in the checkout line could have added the prices in her head, or on her phone.
When confronted with a heat of the moment decision, people may choose different paths. The woman in front of me bit the bullet, held up the check out line, and removed items until the bill was within the amount she planned to spend. In my case I paid the higher than expected bill, which required my wife and I to adjust the remainder of our weekend spending accordingly.
Worst Case Scenario
Sometimes you don’t even have a choice. For example, if you’re not paying attention to what you’re ordering at a restaurant, you may end up with a bill much higher than you intend to spend. In that case you have to settle up, and deal with the consequences.
It any situation, it’s simply easier to know what you’re going to spend, before you spend it.
How about you, EOD Nation, have you been in a situation where a bill was higher than you expected? What did you do about it?