There are often things I see that I really, really want, and even though I know I don’t need whatever it is that’s catching my eye sometimes my judgment lapses, and I just cave to the temptation.
The impulse to buy these things can be really powerful sometimes, and making small purchases can add up to several hundred dollars or thousands of dollars a year if you’re not careful– and if you’re anything like me you probably won’t even use the impulse buy a few weeks after you make the purchase.
Here are a few ways to avoid buying everything you (think) want…
Stay Away from Temptation
If you find yourself browsing online shopping sites, aimlessly walking through the mall, or your favorite department store when you’re bored there is a good chance you’re going to buy something you don’t really need. Only go to a store or visit online retailers when you are armed with a list of items you actually need to purchase, and never just for research or to pass the time.
Use Cash Only
There are benefits to using credit cards but if you find yourself buying things you don’t need on impulse, you may find switching to a cash-only is a good way to keep your spending in check. If you don’t have the cash available – you can’t buy it. Buying things with cash has an immediate impact on your personal finances where buying on credit lets you delay concern until the statement comes. Plus, nothing feels more real than handing over that real-live money. It’s so easy to separate yourself from (what can feel like) abstract money on the card.
If there is something you absolutely feel you must have, delay the purchase for at least 24 to 48 hours. I like to call this “Putting a pause between you and the purchase”. While you are waiting, take a close look at your finances and current debts, read quality personal finance blogs and articles that support your values. There’s a good chance that after your waiting period has passed you will no longer feel the strong impulse to buy the item. The Should I Buy It Take-A-Long Card is also a super helpful tool to use.
What techniques are you using to avoid overspending? If you’ve found something that works I’d love to hear what it is!