One of the biggest obstacles to good financial health is the impulse buy. This concept may seem so innocent...a simple purchase here or there shouldn’t really make a difference, right? Unfortunately, these unplanned purchases can become a habit that adds up to a great deal of lost money, along with a ton of regret.
Making consistent impulse buys can have a significant impact on your financial health. As we all know, bad habits are hard to break. They tend to add up and snowball. One poor decision can lead to others. That’s why breaking the impulse buy habit is so important. Fortunately, these tips can help you to make wiser spending choices in the future and gain better control over your finances.
One way to not spend without thinking is to avoid the places where you tend to make the most impulse buys. This can be the mall, your favorite beauty retailer, or online stores. If you don’t expose yourself to the goods, you won’t be able to buy them. Sure, you have to go out for necessities like groceries. Just don’t put yourself in the vicinity of your usual retail haunts if you don’t have to. When it comes to online shopping, there are apps that can block your most-shopped sites.
You can limit your trips to the physical and virtual shops, but completely denying yourself is dangerous. It can lead to burnout and then a break in which you find yourself shopping to excess out of frustration. Instead, be realistic about the fact that you are allowed to spend some of the money you earn on things you love. Set aside a regular small line in your budget for splurges. Then allow yourself to use that money on things that bring you joy. Just be sure to give the purchase some thought.
Wait It Out
Speaking of thought, we’ve talked about this one before, but it’s important. Try to wait on making purchases when possible, especially the big ones. Remind yourself of your goals and how important it is to choose your purchases with purpose. Then walk away, knowing you can come back to buy should you decide it’s worth the money. Some people put their credit cards on ice...freeze them. By the time the ice block defrosts, you may change your mind and not want to make the purchase.
Think About Cost in Hours Worked
A good strategy to use before buying an item is to figure out how many hours of work it would cost you to buy. I first learned of this idea by reading Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Simply divide the purchase cost by your hourly wage. This number is how many hours you will need to spend at work to pay for the splurge. You’ll often find it’s not really worth the investment.
Consider a No-Spend Challenge
A no-spend challenge involves spending money only on absolute necessities for a set amount of time. You can determine the timeframe. Some choose a weekend. Others a month or even up to a year. Learning to get what you need and to entertain yourself without spending a dime has a way of resetting your priorities and your spending habits. It’s worth a try if you would truly like to revamp your relationship with money.
These are just a few tips to get you started on breaking an impulse buying habit. Give them a try and feel free to add more of your own to discover what works best for you.
You truly can live an Intentional Financial Life...the choices are all yours.
Until next time...
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