Controlling impulse spending is one of the best ways to save money. Throughout my life I had been prone to spending money impulsively. As soon as I got paid I would go buy the latest video game or movie that I wanted. This continued even after college and influenced my spending habits as an adult. Until I put boundaries on my money and began following the tips below, I was as bad an impulse spender as the next person. Read below for seven ways to curb your spending habits.
1. 30 Day Rule
The thirty-day rule is a system that documents what you have the urge to buy and then you delay that purchase for thirty days. If after thirty days you still want to buy the item, you buy it. This takes a lot of the desire out of the purchase and gives you more time to think about whether or not you need it. This works best when you use a dollar threshold (such as anything over $50) and have a calendar to write it on.
2. Count to Ten First
Another strategy is to set the item back down on the shelf and count to ten slowly. If after you count to ten and think about whether or not you still want to buy it and you still do, then pick it back up, put it in your cart and buy it. The main place that I use this is in the grocery store. If I stray from buying items on my grocery list I like to take a few seconds before I head to the checkout to decide whether or not I can put anything in my cart back on the shelves.
3. Leave the Store & Then Decide
Before you make a big purchase, take some time and walk out of the store. Either go back to your car or even head all the way home. Make the decision to buy when you are not surrounded by salespeople, advertising and the actual product. This also gives you the time to do some research about whether or not you are getting the best price on something.
4. Take a Different Route
If you drive, bike or walk the same way to work, school or home everyday and that way takes you by some of the stores that tempt you the most (for me it used to be Best Buy) then find another route to take. This simple tactic can help you avoid making a quick stop just to look around and end up coming out with things you don’t need. Sometimes this might mean having a longer commute by a few minutes, but if it keeps you from impulse purchases it is worth it.
5. Be Accountable to Someone
A tactic I used for a while with both a friend and a significant other was to be accountable to each other when you spend money unwisely or on an impulse. If I went and bought something that I didn’t need to I would text them something like, “I bought movie today I don’t need: $15.” Eventually I would avoid making those purchases because I didn’t want to have to text the other person that I had messed up and spent money I shouldn’t have.
6. Hack Your Wallet
Curbing your impulse buys can be as simple as changing up how you use your wallet. I wrote a lengthy post on this very topic, but some examples are not carrying your credit cards with you, keep inspiration in your wallet or just leaving your wallet at home!
7. Save the Cash First
Before buying something, make sure you have the cash saved up for it. I have used this tip for any high ticket item that I have purchased, including an engagement ring, television and computer. This gives you more time to think about the purchase, shop around and do research. You can also avoid putting these items on credit cards and racking up consumer debt.