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7 Tips to Help You Spend Critically

1. Make a list

Make more informed spending decisions by listing non-essential items you want to buy and imposing a two-week waiting rule before purchase. During this period, assess its actual utility in your life. You may be surprised at how often you decide you don’t want the item before the two weeks are up!

2. Consider whether your basic needs are met

It is important to differentiate between what you need and want. Ensuring you can pay rent, purchase groceries, and participate in small activities (e.g., coffee runs, dinner with friends) is critical to having peace of mind.

3. Take time to think about it

Time can give you the perspective you need to save your money! If you are thinking about getting a new pair of jeans or that new PlayStation, avoid impulse buying and give yourself time to think the purchase over. Often, within 24 hours, you have already forgotten about it or realize you don’t need it.

4. Consider why you like this product

Think about the pros and cons of the product. Understanding how the product will address specific needs or be of value will help you determine whether it is worth your hard-earned money. Be cautious of trends, which can lead to impulsive purchases with minimal long-term value.

5. Consider what you already have

Consider whether the product serves a unique purpose that cannot be fulfilled by an alternative. For instance, could you achieve an intended outfit with a shirt that is in your closet, or do you need a new one?

6. Avoid putting unnecessary purchases on a credit card

Credit cards can be great for students to start developing a good credit score, but they can be dangerous! Try only putting necessary purchases, like groceries, on your credit card and things you can pay back immediately. This way you can still build your credit score without racking up interest.

7. Spend money on things that bring you the most value

Suppose you have $1000 to spend on either a new watch or a new hobby (e.g. golfing). Ask yourself which one will provide you with more satisfaction and fulfilment (there are no right or wrong answers).


1. Tips For Spending Money Wisely. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2023, from


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