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Debt Free Living: Justifying A Non-Purchase

by Cheryl Johnson

Do you sometimes feel like you're making a lot of sacrifices to live debt free? Debt free living is easy if you don't have any debt. But, living debt free and working to eliminate debt, at the same time, can be a struggle. It can feel like you're always giving up what you really want to meet that goal.

Sometimes we can't help but get discouraged. Our desires and wishes get the best of us from time to time. But, it seems to me that things always work out for the best if you just hang in there a little longer.

On a diet commercial the other day, they said that all cravings pass within about 15 minutes. If you can just hold off for those 15 minutes, the craving will pass. I've found this to be somewhat true with impulse buying. Justification of a non-purchase takes about 15-20 minutes and the urge to buy goes away. Let me tell you my own experience.

I've been wanting a front loading washer and dryer set ever since they become popular styles for the home. Each time I go into a store that sells them, I stand and gaze at the beautiful pieces of machinery and even go so far as to compare prices. But, even at the low end, a set of these machines will cost you about $1600. I couldn't tell you how many times I almost approached the salesman about that "easy pay plan."

Each time I hesitated, and after about 15 minutes of thinking about it, I would walk away. I would tell myself that the purchase wasn't necessary right now. Besides, my antique washer and dryer were still working by some miracle . And, I didn't really need a set that cost $1500 when I could get a perfectly fine washer and dryer for about $650, when I "really" need them.

Talking yourself out of a purchase is hard when you've been talking yourself into them for so long. Justifying a non-purchase for the cause of living and becoming debt free is well worth it. I have about four years to go before I see zero debt. After that, I can save enough to buy any washer/dryer set I want in as little as two months, based on my current debt payment. By then, my tastes and the styles may have changed.

I got my new washer and dryer. They aren't front loaders and they aren't "new." But, they are new to me. During a remodeling project, a friend discovered that the machines they had would not be accommodated in the space and decided to invest in a new stackable set. They are less than five years old. Less than 1/4 the age of my current set (which wasn't even a matching pair), and in great condition. We acquired both for a total of $150.

I'm happy with the purchase. It satisfies my goal to become debt free and saved me money. It's a debt free purchase I can live with! Now, I don't have to worry about getting stuck without a washer or dryer. The old ones were getting temperamental and it was obvious that the day of retirement was nearing for both. Living without a washer and dryer is just not practical with a family of six.

Living to become and remain debt free is often a challenge in a world that's credit card crazy. We live with constant exposure to credit card debt "pushers." If they can't get you at home, by mail or TV commercial, they get you as you walk in the door of the store and at the checkout.

When you want something and you happen to stop and look, just remember the 15 minute non-purchase theory. Walk around and justify not making the purchase for at least 15 minutes. That's long enough to talk yourself out of it and save the day. You'll save money and stay true to your goal to become or remain debt free!

About the Author

Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four on a mission to become debt free. As publisher of Simple Debt Free Living at she hopes to guide and encourage others to become debt free using budget planning, debt management, and money savings tips and strategies.

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