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How to Kick the Sh*t Out of Your Finances

by Shawanda Greene

In 4 Hardcore Strategies to Torch Debt, Rack Up Cash, and Build Wealth Now, I kindly suggested you “stop buying shit” in order to achieve your financial goals.

I’ve returned to explain myself to those who wonder, “How does this broad think I’m supposed to survive without spending money?”

You see, there’s a science to kicking a shit buying habit.

Kickboxing Girl Giving Strong Kick With Her LegFirst, know your shit.

Answer the following multiple choice question.

Shit is any purchase I . . .

(a) Don’t need and can’t afford
(b) Can afford and won’t use
(c) Need and already own
(d) All of the above

Hint: The answer is ‘All of the above.’

Before we continue, let’s make two assumptions: 1) You have the mental wherewithal to tell the difference between a need and a want, and 2) You know enough about your finances to identify what you can and cannot afford.

Now, we’re left to deal with the shit you unknowingly own.

Allow me to indulge you in a movie metaphor to explain my point.

“There is no spoon.”

Do you remember Neo’s exchange with that creepy, bald kid in The Matrix? 

Creepy Kid: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Creepy Kid: There is no spoon.

You want the truth?

The truth is I don’t have a clue what greater meaning lies within that statement. But all this talk about spoons got me to thinking.

When I bought my very first batch of silverware, I didn’t buy forks, knives, and spoons. I bought a safe and durable means of transporting nourishment from my plate to my mouth.

The reason we scour the aisles of Target for a monetary fix to any tiny unmet need is we define our needs too narrowly.

A while back, the metal disk that attaches to the magnetic strip of my medicine cabinet door became unglued. As a result, the door wouldn’t shut. So I duct taped the old metal disc back to the cabinet door.

Every couple of weeks, the tape would lose its stickiness and the medicine cabinet door would pop open, exposing my meds to glassy-eyed prescription drug abusers. I’d reattach the disc with a fresh strip of duct tape and carry on about my day. This ritual went on for months.

At one point, I considered springing for a tube of super glue or picking up a few strips of double-sided type. But that’d require me to spend money on some shit I wasn’t sure I needed. Then I remembered I had an unopened tube of epoxy hanging in a bag on my hallway closet door.

I smeared the adhesive all over the metal disk, slapped it on the cabinet door, let it dry for about four hours, and BAM!–it was good as new. And I didn’t have to spend an extra cent.

Take some time, pull out the knickknacks that are wedged in the cobwebbed crevices of your home. Get rid of the shit you don’t need, don’t want, can’t use, or won’t use. Then organize the rest in a logical fashion.

When you need it, you’ll know where to find it . . . in your home, not the halls of Target.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Franklyspeaking October 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

I agree with you. Most people will buy fancy silverware that do the same as a cheaper pair. More amazing is that they offer no increased utility. The same could be said for a whole host of things.

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Shawanda Greene October 10, 2012 at 10:11 PM

One of the worst sayings of all times is “You get what you pay for.” Uh, no you don’t. Too often, what you get is ripped off.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..4 Hardcore Strategies to Torch Debt, Rack Up Cash, and Build Wealth NowMy Profile

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Kelly@FinancialFixers October 10, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I seriously love your tone and attitude about saving money. Its so true that anyone who is worried about finances practices the bad habit of spending money on things we really don’t need and can’t afford. I just organized a clothing swap with some of my friends to get rid of a bunch of shirts that I don’t wear, and get some new stuff without buying new clothes. Got to be creative.
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Shawanda Greene October 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Ya know, I haven’t been to a swap event yet, but I’ve heard good things about them. Instead of donating clothes that have *clears throat* shrunk to the thrift store (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), I could use them as currency at a clothing swap.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..4 Hardcore Strategies to Torch Debt, Rack Up Cash, and Build Wealth NowMy Profile

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eemusings October 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Bahaha. Love your DIY ethos and the Matrix reference!

You know, I don’t even know where most of our silverware came from. We bought some cheap stuff aaages ago but we seem to have acquired a lot more forks since then – I think I must have accidentally brought some home from work over time. Oops.
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Shawanda Greene October 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Ha! Forks are hard to keep track of. I have an even harder time hanging on to wine glasses. I want to get some new ones from Ikea, but I’ll spend $15 in gas just to get there and back plus $2 for each wine glass. I’m considering doing the unthinkable–drinking my wine from a coffee mug. Yowsers!
Shawanda Greene recently posted..4 Hardcore Strategies to Torch Debt, Rack Up Cash, and Build Wealth NowMy Profile

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Erica October 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

You mean you’re not supposed to be drinking wine from mugs? Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong all this time :)

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Holly Thrifty October 11, 2012 at 8:11 AM

I think you can curb most your spending habits by one simple exercise. Clean out your house, cabinets, garage, storage areas, and closets. Yep, it’s a big task that nobody want to do because you see all the crap you bought that you never use, you feel like you wasted money (and you did) , and HOPEFULLY, you learn lessons that it’s just stuff and less stuff means less cleaning, organizing and tossing away.

Turn that junk into trash tax deductions by donating it to charity and know someone else can use it.

TAKE pictures of the before and after–keep them on your phone or in your purse. Pull it out when you’re tempted to buy those cute little knick-kacks that are inexpensive–you’ll remember they have to be stored somewhere after Halloween.

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silver price October 20, 2012 at 6:32 AM

I think you can curb most your spending habits by one simple exercise. Clean out your house, cabinets, garage, storage areas, and closets. Yep, it’s a big task that nobody want to do because you see all the crap you bought that you never use, you feel like you wasted money (and you did) , and HOPEFULLY, you learn lessons that it’s just stuff and less stuff means less cleaning, organizing and tossing away.
silver price recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

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Wayne @ Young Family Finance October 28, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Love! We did exactly that when my wife left work with our second child. Guess what? We have a TON of stuff that we don’t need, even without buying anything! Following your advice will also keep you off the show “Hoarders,” which gives me nightmares.
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Thomas S. Moore November 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM

First this has to be one of the best titles I have seen in a long time!! As for the post some people just like spending money or simply don’t know or want to know any better. They will buy 3-5 things of silverware just cause and some will never even be opened. A lot of times what you shop for is already in your home in some way shape or form but people like shopping and buying “sh*t”"!!!!

The is no spoon I never new what the heck the meant either!
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Laura@ Financial Freedom Newsletter November 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

This article made me think harder about my finances and stuff I don’ t need! I just went to a thrift store to sell some old clothes and made $17 though! Always a great option to clean out your closet of clothes you don’t and won’t ever wear. Target is a weak spot for many people though, I feel like every time I go, I spend unnecessary amounts of money! Next time I’m going to think about what I really need before I chuck it in the cart.
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juliane738 December 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I love your blog! Yes, we all buy s$%% we don’t need! I even added extra letters to that deleted expletive! Doesn’t our culture encourage this? It takes a smart person to notice this, and modify their habits,accordingly.

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Sue March 16, 2014 at 8:38 PM

each time i used to read smaller posts that aalso clear their motive,
and that is also happening with this post which
I am reading here.
Sue recently posted..SueMy Profile

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