These two simple words can cause all your hard work and great financial decisions to crumble: impulse buy. We’ve all done it before but these small (or large) purchases can wreak havoc on your budget. Here are some tips to help resist the urge to buy!
- Compare the cost of the item to your hourly rate at work. Keep in mind that your true hourly rate will be at least 25% lower than your listed hourly rate after taxes and work related expenses. Is that pair of boots worth the hours you spent slaving away to earn the money? This comparison can keep purchases in check.
- Every time you are in the store and have the urge to buy something random, add it to the “impulse buy” list. Use the notepad on your phone for easy access. Check the list 1 week later and only allow yourself to make purchases that you still truly want.
- Set a small monthly “impulse buy” budget. Once that amount is spent, no more purchases! Personally, I know it’s unrealistic for me to not make ANY extra purchases. However, $50 a month should allow me to indulge myself sometimes without going overboard.
- Make a shopping list before going to the store. Visit only those sections with the items on your list and keep it moving! Sticking to the list can reduce browsing which leads to more purchases.
- Remove yourself from any email subscriptions for stores. It can be hard to resist online shopping when you are constantly inundated with sale emails in your inbox everyday.
- Along those same lines, stop online shopping. It only takes a few minutes to rack up a couple hundred dollars in your shopping cart. It’s also harder to evaluate if you really need something just by looking at an image online.
- If possible, don’t use a cart at the store. Try to use the baskets or don’t use anything other than your hands! It is too easy to just throw things into a cart. When you are forced to only purchase what you can carry, you might have to make some tough choices.
- If you really want to make yourself stop overspending, take only cash with you to the store. This literally gives you no way to even buy the extra items. If you want to take this a step further, you can even freeze your credit card for a while.
- Ask yourself what this purchase is going to do for you. If you stop and take a minute to really think about how you will use this item, and what it brings into your life, you might just realize that you don’t really need it.
- Remind yourself of your goal. In my previous post here, I mentioned the importance of setting a goal while creating your budget. Having an end goal such as a vacation or paying off debt will motivate you to save money!
These are a few of the things I do to help control my impulse buying! The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Do you have any tricks to stop yourself from being an impulse buyer?