How to Stop Impulsive Spending
By: Jill Harrison
Purchasing items impulsively is something we have all done. Whether we do it based on our emotions, boredom or lack of planning, unnecessary expenses can add up over time. Impulsive spending does not have to be fun things like clothing or technology – more often we impulsively buy food, cleaning supplies or things we are “unsure” if we have at home. So, with this being said – how do you save money and stop bad habits?
Check out the following five tips to take control:
Make a list
How many times have you went to the grocery store for two or three things, and left with a basket full of groceries? Plan out what you need before heading to the store based upon what you already have at home. Making a list won’t change your spending habits, but it can give you a guide of what you really need vs. what you think might be a good idea at the time.
Not only can this allow you to set a budget, but carrying cash can help you control your spending. Actually seeing your money & budget going down sometimes has more affect psychologically rather than swiping a card.
Watch out for Sales
Don’t let sales draw you in! Just a little example, how many times have you bought a piece of clothing just because it was a “great value” to let it sit in your closet and never be worn? Assess whether it will actually be used or whether it is just a good value. If you’re an online shopper, unsubscribe from emails that can encourage your spending. If you think you can live without it, say no and pass.
Ask Yourself & Wait Before You Buy
Have you ever heard the saying “sleep on it”? Giving yourself time to assess a purchase can prevent almost any impulsive decision. Waiting can allow our brain to process the item and allow us to realize we may not need it as much as we first thought.
Do we need it? If the answer is no, put it back.
Does it fit our budget? No – see if there is a cheaper option or it goes back.
Can I live without it? If the answer is yes, you probably don’t need it.
You don’t need to do this for every item you pick up at the grocery store or mall, but if you find yourself questioning a particular purchase, evaluate your potential purchase.
Set a Monthly Budget
Allocate how much you plan to spend on living expenses and see how much you have left over. Divide items into categories, and give yourself a “fun money” budget for clothing & fun activities. It may end up being $5 - $10 you pull out of every check, but you will feel better and like you are getting a “reward” when you allocate that spending.