Taxes aren’t handled the same worldwide. As tax time in the US has recently come and gone, my blood pressure will stabilize and profound sighs diminish. Now it’s a good time to concentrate on another money issue – namely, what we buy.

Most of us manage to pay our bills on time, but few track what those bills actually purchase. Sure, there is food, medicine, transportation, maybe a mortgage or rent, electric, utilities and phone bills, etc. But what about all the Gazingus Pins we purchase?

What Is a Gazingus Pin?

Gazingus Pins? You don’t own one? I suspect you might. Okay, so what is it? The term was coined by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin in their financial program Your Money or Your Life, a book that has truly influenced me.

A Gazingus Pin represents all the basically needless things you continue to spend money on out of habit. It’s a spending impulse – the reflex hammer hits, and presto, you reach out and grab the item, not able to resist the procurement.

We All Have Them

These aren’t easy habits to quit. And we always have a rational ‘reason’ (hmmm) for the acquisition. Unsurprising, it might not seem so rational to others.

It could be the next skein of yarn purchased to have on hand for that ‘someday project,’ or the $4.95 magazine you half read during grocery check-out, or pretty gems and minerals that ‘really don’t take up that much space.’

Other options include the bottles of nail polish whose colors jump off the shelf to catch your eye, or even that daily latte on the way to work where free coffee (albeit ‘nasty’) is available.

My husband’s Gazingus is hand-tools. And after years of visits to the local Ace hardware store, I believe I am being sucked into that craving. Furthermore, I am drawn by socks and plants (not necessarily at the same time). These culprits call my name by their color, comfort, or sale price.

Books used to be a vulnerability until I made a commitment to save money, and wall space at home, by using the library more often.

The Next Minimalistic Idea?

You may wonder if this concept is just an approach to save more money. Not exactly.

If you love your dynamic nail polish and change it every couple of days, if you enjoy the compliments, if it makes you feel special, and you find the cost pays you back in spades for the joy it affords, then this is probably not your Gazingus Pin.

It isn’t my call, or anyone else’s – although I do wonder if limiting the purchase to a bottle of flamboyant lacquer every couple of months wouldn’t deliver the same compliments.

These habitual, wasteful items are only wasteful for you if, after they reside on your shelf, you tend to shake your head, realizing you would prefer to have the money back in your wallet. You are the judge.

However, sometimes loved ones or those close to us can identify our ‘little weakness’ quicker than we can. For instance, my husband has said, “If you’d buy better socks, you wouldn’t need as many.” Uh-oh, he evidently doesn’t share my ‘rationale’ for the sock habit.

Shaking the Gazingus Pins Off

Gazingus Pins are not easy to give up or even reduce, but the price they cost us is in our control. In “Time and Money at Tax Time,” I recount a few favorite financial sites.

As a whole, they probably offer more information than we have time (or desire) to consume. Still, they are great resources. Yet, the one thing they can’t do is describe your Gazingus Pin and how to trade it in for more life energy.

Money is exactly that – something we gain for the life energy we have expanded. Maybe you would join me in saying I don’t want to surrender life energy for that assortment of doodads that is growing at my house – unless I truly find pleasure in that collection.

It could be that my socks provide just the right comfort, or I find plants that thrive and bloom with minimal care.

Awareness Can Save Your Bucks

Simply being aware of Gazingus Pins, or how often we reach for our credit card when it’s not really necessary, is a giant leap forward. It guides us to concentrate our spending on the two high-value elements of the spectrum: needs and true desires.

Whether watching a budget while deep within retirement or making plans for years to come, Gazingus Pins can really take a bite – nibble by nibble perhaps, but still a flesh wound. I think I must have saved thousands of dollars at this point, simply by resisting books (other than for gifts or references).

Admittedly, downloadable audio files along with other books from the library and heavily-stocked consignment book stores in my local town balance things out.

As with so many weaknesses that we might like to conquer and change, self-awareness is a useful beginning.

What types of Gazingus Pins might you be collecting? What do you do with them? Do you ever stop and think you don’t really need that many of them? Please share your odd purchasing habits with our community!

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