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Use Consumer Restraint to Reduce Expenses and Save Money

One key to success in reducing expenses, maintaining control over your personal finances, and saving money, is exercising Consumer Restraint!

GenerationDEBT has arrived! We know young people today are struggling just like everyone when it comes to finances. It's easy to obtain credit cards, get long term financing, or cash in on offers of "No payments until..." whenever!

Get what you want now and don't worry about paying for it!! At least not today... Remember the call-to-action from President Bush after the 9-11 attacks? Let's go shopping...

Quote from the movie "Twelve Monkeys" released in 1996

DR. PETERS (played by David Morse)
Surely there is very real and very convincing data that the planet cannot survive the excesses of the human race: proliferation of atomic devices, uncontrolled breeding habits, the rape of the environment, the pollution of land, sea, and air. In this context, isn't it obvious that "Chicken Little" represents the sane vision and that Homo Sapiens' motto, "Let's go shopping!" is the cry of the true lunatic?

Many of us spend money like there is no tomorrow. Credit cards have made spending so easy!! And, there are SO MANY wonderful products out on the market today that we MUST HAVE!! This works great for the economy, and doesn't seem to be much of a problem if you have plenty of money to spend. For the rest of us, we struggle to reduce expenses when the bills come in.

Another quote from "Twelve Monkeys"

JEFFREY (played by Brad Pitt)
Why you're here is because of the system, because of the economy. There's the TV. It's all right there. Commercials. We are not productive anymore, they don't need us to make things anymore, it's all automated. What are we for then? We're consumers. Okay, buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, you know what? You're mentally ill! That's a fact! If you don't buy things...toilet paper, new cars, computerized blenders, electrically operated sexual devices... SCREWDRIVERS WITH MINIATURE BUILT-IN RADAR DEVICES, STEREO SYSTEMS WITH BRAIN IMPLANTED HEADPHONES, VOICE-ACTIVATED COMPUTERS, AND...

JEFFREY didn't get to finish his statement in the movie. If we aren't buying things, is something wrong with us? If we don't have the latest PLASMA or LCD HDTV, or a lavish and advanced luxury sport utility vehicle, or we don't have a surround sound home theatre system that will shake the walls, then we must be under-achievers...

Now, I am not suggesting that having a nice car and big screen TV are necessarily bad things... I like both, although I don't have either... My point is simply that IF LACK OF MONEY IS AN ISSUE, then we should exercise some restraint save money instead of piling up credit card debt! This isn't easy of course... Consumer marketers know how to make us want things...

Another quote from "Twelve Monkeys"

JEFFREY (played by Brad Pitt)
Here's my theory on that. While I was institutionalized, my brain was studied exhaustively in the guise of mental health. I was interrogated, x-rayed, studied thoroughly. Then, everything about me was entered into a computer where they created a model of my mind.

Then, using the computer model, they generated every thought I could possibly have in the next, say ten years, which they then filtered through a probability matrix to determine everything I was going to do in that period. So you see, she knew I was going to lead the Army of the Twelve Monkeys into the pages of history before it ever even occurred to me. She knows everything I'm ever going to do before I know it myself. How about that?

Focus groups, study groups, polls and surveys, beta-testers, test markets, industrial design engineers... Consumer Marketers have many tools to determine what we want or need as consumers, and then how to make sure we buy it! Sometimes they seem to know what's best for us before we know. TV is certainly an EXCELLENT example of how to plant ideas into our heads... Phrases like, "Best movie of the year", "Number one in customer satisfaction", "A must have", or the current classic, "It's a no-brainer!"... All are intended to convince the consumer that the product being advertised is the best on the market, and that we NEED to have it. After all, how could we NOT want something which is the best on the market? It's a NO-BRAINER right? Of course, we didn't want or need that item before seeing the commercial. But we sure need it now right? How many times have you bought something that after a few weeks ended up on the back shelf never to be used again? I find plenty...

There are ways of reducing expenses and not getting trapped into buying things you really don't need... One method that works for me, is to study various choices in a particular item. Usually, there are at least a few different manufacturers to consider. Look at them all and be sure to read all the packaging! There are different sizes, shapes, and materials. Study and compare all the options! Oh, and pricing differences. Make sure you look closely at all the prices!!

That process leaves me scratching my head, making me unclear as to which item is the better buy... I go into the big screen plasma TV room at least a few times a month now. Each time I see bigger, better, newer items. So, I walk out empty handed, perform some additional Internet research, and reevaluate later... It's hard to walk out of a store empty handed... But I am getting better at it...!

Exercise YOUR consumer restraint privilege, and reduce your expenses! Save money! Buy what you need, but avoid impulse buying. If necessary, get professional help using Expense Reduction Consultants! You can gain back more than their fee when you reduce expenses in other areas!

Then, sit back and watch your money savings grow...!