The Sales Pitch

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any.  Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I am the world’s greatest salesperson.  I can sell anything to my customer, know all the buttons to push and rarely let them out of the store without closing the sale.  The problem is that I’m also the customer of this relationship.  Before I got my financial priorities in order,  I was able to sell myself into buying anything, which was part of the reason from the age of 25-28 I really didn’t save all that much money, I basically spent everything I made.  There were a few sales pitches that I employed that were very successful:

It’s a once in the lifetime opportunity: I used this many times to spend more money than I should have on travelling.  Sometimes it actually was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but usually it was just me not wanting to miss out on something fun.

It’s a really good deal: I accumulated a lot of “stuff” buy utilizing this tactic, I would stock up on things that really don’t need to be stocked up on, or items that would be on sale at the same “deal” price at a future date.  Normally, I would buy an excessive amount of clothing and at a future date decide I didn’t like the style or colour , or I had changed sizes.

I deserve it: This was an amazing seller – I was able to talk myself into buying items that I didn’t need at all using this tactic – explaining to myself that I was working really hard and deserved to treat myself with a new “something”.  Out of all my sales pitches, this one still works the best on me – especially now that I am on somewhat more solid financial ground with money sitting around.

Once I had a financial plan in mind, my purchases of un-needed, and unwanted stuff decreased significantly.  The focus of my spending was to my future, more than the now, which has usually (but not always) allowed me to not even start with my various internal sales pitches.  The vast majority of my spending is planned a saved for, which will hopefully allow me to achieve my goal of retiring by age 45.

I think that most people (like myself 5 years ago) generally have no plan, which is why they end up spending everything they make (and then some).  Additionally, I think that some people are much better sales people to themselves then they realize, which is why they end up with tons o f  stuff that they don’t need and really didn’t want in the first place – they end up at the store, see something neat and talk themselves into buying it, only to let it collect dust until it’s thrown out.

I am now more conscientious of my “inner-salesperson” – how do you try to stop impulse purchases?  Do you still fall for your own sales pitches only to regret it later?

4 thoughts on “The Sales Pitch”

  1. I tend to find that “sleeping on it” works. Often, if I am able to delay a decision with that mentality, I wake up realizing that splurging on that extra item was just not worth it.

    However, I also noticed that if something just wont’ leave your mind, it’s probably worth going for it. This past winter, I had to wrestle with the idea of getting satellite television. I’m a huge hockey fan but I had a hard time justifying the purchase because it was considerably more expensive than the regular cable bill I was used to getting.

    Like you, I had my financial plan in place. In the end, and after a few weeks of thinking it over, I went ahead and bought it. I crunched the numbers and decided that I would cancel my Sirius radio in my vehicle in exchange for hockey in HD. Technically, I could ‘afford’ two of them, but I am also saving and investing for the long haul.

    Often, I think it’s important to let things set in a bit because it may not always be an impulse item, but something you actually want as part of your lifestyle.

    Nice post.

  2. In my experience the line, “it’s for the children” can justify poor spending choices. Great friends of ours are always spending more than they make because they purchase things and activities for their 4 kids. I myself have fallen victim to this line of thinking. It’s hard to make your kids go without even if it is for the greater family good.

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