Keeping yourself within a budget can be difficult no matter how old you get or what you do for a living. As I started looking for tips on how to keep my spending in check, one simple trick stood out from the rest: the 10-second rule.
The concept, which I initially discovered on the Simple Dollar, is easy. Whenever you are about to buy anything at all, the site says to “count to ten slowly and spend that time considering whether or not you should actually spend the money.” That means every purchase, big or small. Not too hard, right?
It’s the same idea behind embracing a more mindful approach to things like the food we eat and weight loss. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of a pricey new outfit or an expensive trip to the salon, and sometimes, it’s totally worth it. But not if you’re going to feel guilty every time you look in the mirror and come face-to-face with the purchase that got you behind on your finances. Trust me, I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit.
But what makes this method so great is that it’s not trying to stop you from treating yourself entirely. Whether you take 10 seconds or two, it’s just about truly considering what you’re spending your money on. For more specific guidance, Psychology Today recommends asking yourself questions like: Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it?
Those first two questions might sound a little existential for something as ordinary as buying something at a store, but they can make a difference. Maybe you’re shopping with someone who asked for your help picking things out rather than actually needing something yourself. And, there’s no denying emotions can get in the way of making a more rational decision with your dollars. However, if you ask yourself those questions — answering them honestly — and still feel like making a purchase, you can go right ahead with a clear conscious.
After all, it’s so much easier to enjoy new goodies without the fear of it coming back to bite you. That kind of peace of mind is definitely worth 10 tiny seconds.