You're trying to keep on track with your new savings regime but it can be incredibly difficult to stop the urge to buy once it’s in us. You work hard, so you deserve a little something now and then.
It's easy to justify and it's just a little something. But then the little something snowballs. You get the taste of acquiring something new, the mood boost, the excitement of opening something shiny. Unfortunately, the short term high you get from retail therapy is fleeting but the ongoing effect can be devastating to your savings plan.
If impulse buying is undermining your monthly budget, here are 10 simple strategies for beating the urge. Choose a method that works for you, or use them in combination.
1. Create a “want list”
Jot things down that interest you. Before you make an unnecessary purchase write it down. Come back after a month and revisit the item. Reconcile the feeling of wanting something with the urgency of owning it. You'll find it can probably wait and for most things on the list, the desire fades.
2. Pay with your time.
Before you make a purchase, do the math. Figure out how many hours you have to work to afford the item. If you find out that you have put in a days worth of labor or more, your item might not seem so attractive.
3. Go cold turkey
Try buying nothing for a day (or more) and see how it feels to put a complete ban on shopping. Just like eating sugar makes you want to eat more sugar, shopping can spark a desire for more shopping.
Be with people who have less. Spend an hour or two volunteering for a charity that works with people who are homeless and see if that brand new whatever it is matters so much now.
If you find you're seeking retail therapy as a way to cope try taking a walk or go to a yoga class instead. The health benefit will give you the extra strength you need to stay your course and make you feel even better.
6. Put your credit card on ice
If using your credit card is part of the problem, consider giving it up completely. If that’s not a good option for you, try literally freezing your card. Put it in a Ziploc baggie with water, seal it good, and put it in the freezer. Don’t write the credit card number anywhere. Now, if you want to make a purchase with the card, you’ll have to unfreeze it. That little wait of a couple of hours can be enough to stop you from making many purchases.
7. Don't go into the long grass
If you don't want to get eaten by velociraptors, you don't go into the long grass. If you don't want to be tempted unnecessary purchases, don't go to the shopping centres and stay away from online shopping sites. Keep your visits to these centres of retail temptation to a minimum.
8. Keep your eye on the prize
Remember your goals at all times. What do you want to do with your life? Do you have financial goals that you’re trying to accomplish, in the long-term and medium-term? Keep your savings goals in mind, and know that when you’re about to make a purchase, how the that will affect your goals.
You do work hard and you do deserve wonderful things. It's ok to reward yourself now and then but don't let unimportant distractions get in the way of what you really want.