10 Ways to Stop Impulse Spending

by Tracy · 1 comment

A dollar here, five dollars there, what’s the big deal? While small impulse purchases are easy to write off as being a drop in the bucket, the truth is those drops add up more quickly than we’d like to think and add up to hundreds of dollars wasted every month. The good news is that saving that money will also add up quickly and give us the peace of mind that comes with being more financially secure.

Here are ten ways to get stop spending on impulse:

1. Stop using your debit or credit card and put your daily expenses on a cash-only basis. Decide in advance how much you’ll have for pocket cash and carry only that amount with you. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

For most of us, spending cash is a lot more painful than swiping a card, so we’re more likely to ask ourselves if what we’re buying is really necessary.

2. Have a home for every dollar. Don’t wait to put money in savings until the end of the month, transfer it over as soon as you are paid so that there is less temptation to spend it. Again, decide in advance how much money to allocate for personal expenses and stick to it.

3. Get in the habit of planning in advance so that you won’t have to buy things like drinks and food. Plan shopping trips for after you’ve eaten and bring a bottle of water with you while running errands. Bring a lunch and snacks to work and all day excursions so that you can save money on meals and probably eat a lot healthier, too.

4. Stay out of stores as much as possible. The more often you go into a store, the more likely you are to buy something. Instead of going window shopping, try going to the library instead.

5. Keep busy! Find hobbies and activities to fill your days, preferably ones that don’t require a constant outlay of cash. Taking walks, playing sports in the park and board games with friends and family are great ways to spend your time and really connect with others.

6. Instead of buying right away, give yourself a day or two to think it over. In this day and age, you’ll almost always be able to get it later so don’t fall prey to “limited time only” offers. Perhaps you will have to pay more if it turns out you need it later, but this will easily be evened out by all the times you didn’t buy something you did not really need.

7. Spend time consciously think about all the very good reasons for limiting your consumption, beyond just saving money. The more reasons you have to limit your spending, the better. For example, not only is junk food expensive, it’s also unhealthy.

8. Use a list when you must go shopping. This will not only keep you from buying things that you don’t need, it will also stop you from forgetting the things that you do need. Remember, the more often you go to the store, the more you will buy.

9. Look for alternatives to buying when you need something. Is it something you could rent or borrow? Could you buy used? Can you make substitutions? Is it possible to do without? While it might not seem like impulse spending to buy things you need, for many of us, our idea of “need” is far from reality.

10. Get into the habit of de-cluttering your home frequently. This will force you to see how much you are buying that was never really needed. It can be a sobering wake up call to see how much you’ve spent on things that wound up stuffed in a closet after one use – or worse, never having been used at all.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

rachiti May 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Number 1 is VERY outdated. For those of us who’ve grown up using plastic for everything – whether it’s a gift card, credit card, or debit card…having cash feels like “extra” or “fun” money. It’s also MUCH harder to track spending when it’s in cash form. The alternative – use just one debit or credit card and budgeting software. Personally I love mint.com because I can set my budgets for each category and track my spending by logging in every couple of days. When you see just how much ‘extras’ you’ve been buying…it’s a great way to reorganize how and where money should be allocated.

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