With the another holiday just behind us, it’s the perfect time to talk about how to keep our shopping and spending habits under control. Taming impulse purchases can not only help you stay on track for a simplied life, but can also help you achieve future goals.
Here are some ways you can minimize impulse buying and keep spending under control:
Avoid the Triggers
Identify what triggers you to shop? If you’re guaranteed to buy something every time you walk into the mall, then avoid going to the mall. If you can’t keep your finger off the “Add to Cart” button, then unsubscribe from retail emails. If you’d like to stay subscribed, just immediately delete the retail emails when you receive them each day. Don’t open or read them unless you absolutely have something specific you need.
Avoid Compulsive Purchases
If you do go to a store, make a list of exactly what you need to buy and stick to it. Avoid purchasing unnecessary items just because they’re on sale. Instead, add the item to your list and postpone purchasing it for a few days. The larger the purchase, the longer you should postpone the purchase to minimize impulse buying.
Replace Shopping With a New Habit
Do you find that you shop most when you’re anxious, stressed, overworked, or bored? These emotional isues can wreak havoc on our wallets and fill our closets with things we don’t really need or have space for. Instead, if you feel the behavoir coming on, change what you’re doing and choose a new hobby. Go for a walk, read, paint, bake, or do what you can to distract yourself from shopping.
Understand the Cost
Spending money on an item you don’t really need is more than just the money it costs. Add to those few dollars the time it takes to earn that money, drive to the store, make the purchase, and get it home. Is that item really worth the hour or two or more you have to spend working to afford the purchase?
For all purchases (other than essentials like food), ask youself the question, “Is this purchase getting in the way of achieving what I really want?” Or, another way to say it, “Is this $50 I’m spending today taking away from saving for the life I want to live later (a vacation, home, or retirement)?”
Change Your Shopping Mentality
Have you ever decided, “Today is the day I’m going to eat healthy”? You know that the only way to stick to that resolution is to change the way you think about food. So every time you look at a sugary item, you have to tell yourself that the item is no good for you. Eventually your mind will make the switch and you’ll only want the healthier foods.
The same is true for impulse purchases. When you get the urge to shop, don’t think “I’m going to go shopping.” Instead change your mindset and think, “I’m going to go shopping and put myself in more debt.” See how this change can deter you from wanting to shop?
Only Pay With Cash
Another way to minimize impulse buying is to pay for your daily purchases in cash. This will make a huge difference in your weekly trips to the grocery store and monthly trips to Target for other everyday essentials. If you don’t have the cash to purchase an unnecessary item, don’t put it on a credit card. Think of credit cards as fake money — money that people only use when they don’t have the cash.
Minimizing impulse buying is one step closer to living a more simple, less cluttered life because it will help you bring into your home only the the things you need and truly love.
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