Sometimes a shopping spree can begin with a simple glance. All you have to do is pull your wallet out of your pocket, or even use a credit card on your phone, to spend money. However, you may not have the money in your bank account- or your budget- to purchase these things.
Personally, I know that having multiple stressful jobs, kids running around the house, and an endless supply of things to do can lead to a temptation to buy something. If this sounds like you, you may be struggling with impulse buying! But don’t panic- there is hope for you… and your finances!
CURBING THE DESIRE…
My wife is super good about making sure I stay on top of our goals- even if I have a desire to impulse buy. (This is one benefit of having a shared bank account!) She helps me stop and think if I really need this item I’m about to spend money on. How many endless hours of work did I just burn through to be able to buy this item? Is it really worth it?
You see…managing your finances is a skill many people have not acquired. The fault may be with parents, your school, or just learned ignorance, but whoever is to ‘blame,’ it has to stop.
I’m assuming since you’re here, you are already aware of your issue- or potential issue- with spending money. Therefore, you want to figure out how to curb the problem so you can keep your family on track of becoming debt free!
The first-step in fighting the desire of impulse buying would be to create a budget. I have put together a simple and easy 7-day budget course that will help you create a customized budget. If you have any additional questions or need help, I’m always open by email or on twitter!
Strategies worth learning
I have tried to think of the top 3 things that are the most important in order to eventually master the art of not spending money on items I don’t really need. Make sure you pay attention and apply these steps to your life. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time, and who has that to waste?
1. Do I use it at least an hour a day?
There is a famous finance blogger, Bridget Casey, who has a whole article on the 45 minutes rule. For me, I like to think in whole numbers, so I go with an hour. If you are not going to be using that item at least an hour a day, is it worth buying?
I say, if you are not going to be using it for at least an hour a day, you are better off renting or borrowing it from someone. Plus, this really helps eliminate the clutter in your home!
Before you pull out your wallet, remember this rule! It can save a bundle!
2. Avoid places that tempt you
I know this is way easier said than done, but curbing your desire to buy things you don’t need takes effort. You have to intentionally avoid “hazardous” place. For example, if you are used to buying a $5 coffee drink on your way to work, and need to cut that out of your budget, you may need to take a new route to work.
Always spend money when you go to the mall each weekend? Don’t go to the mall. Spend time with your friends at a different location! I promise it will still be fun.
The biggest lesson to learn is that you cannot blame anyone but yourself for useless spending! Once you have learned that and accepted it, it becomes easier to fix your spending problems!
3. Know your shopping triggers
We all have them! Almost 100% of the time they are emotional or physiological. I know mine tends to be when I feel stressed or anxious.
Identify these triggers, and you will soon be able to think about your purchases instead of just habitually buying.
So the next time you’re buying something, think about what caused you to purchase it? Why are you at that spot right now?
I am not perfect at not spending when I want something, but I have learned over the years some discipline. This means having a longer-term goal, such as saving for a downpayment on a house or knocking out your student loan debt so you can be debt free. This can really help with keeping you from spending money on things you don’t need!
Once you have eliminated useless spending, you can have more money in your pocket to give!
I was at the grocery store the other day and saw someone pay for the groceries of another person who looked like she was having a rough day. The recipient of the groceries was so thankful! Remember this is why we should want to become debt free!