During times of economic uncertainty, even those of us with a little extra cash to spare need to be careful about overspending on frivolous items. When every paycheck counts, there isn’t room to allow your emotions to rule your purchases. Being conscious of your spending is sometimes easier said than done. Below are some tips to help you manage impulse spending.
Think it Over
Make it a rule to always think over any non-essential purchases for at least three days. If, after those three days are up, you believe that the item is still worth purchasing, and you have a plan to pay for it, by all means go ahead. By taking the time to carefully consider any non-essential purchases, you will find that much of your impulse spending is curtailed.
Don’t Shop for Shopping’s Sake
Many of us are guilty of using shopping as a form of entertainment. Is it any wonder that even during an economic crisis the malls are still jam-packed? Shopping as a form of entertainment comes with a hefty price tag. Although there may be short-term elation after making a purchase, the long-term debt will eventually get you down.
Don’t Buy on Credit
When you make purchases using your credit cards, it is all too easy to spend more than you would have if you had paid with cash. Paying with a credit card doesn’t seem like spending real money so you end up going overboard. Take out enough money for your daily expenditures for the week and leave your credit cards at home. See if you don’t spend less money than you would have on credit.
Plan Your Outings
Impulse spending is not limited to big screen televisions and sports cars. All of the little impulse purchases that you make through your day can also add up. Magazines at the grocery store and fast food lunches may not seem like impulse purchases because they disappear! Whenever you leave the house, be sure to take a list with you of the absolute necessities that you will spend money on. With a little planning you should be able to avoid buying items that are not on your list.
Reward Yourself in Other Ways
Sometimes we fall into a trap of rewarding ourselves with purchases. After a hard day at work we feel we deserve a little treat. Find other ways to reward yourself that don’t involve making an impulse purchase. Take a bubble bath. Borrow a good book from the library. Trade babysitting services with a friend and enjoy a quiet evening alone with your spouse. Get creative and find ways to make yourself happy without spending a dime.
These are just a few ideas to help you on your way to curtailing impulse spending. If you find that your spending habits aren’t getting better and your debt is mounting, it may be time to visit a debt counselor and put together a financial plan. Above all else, do not be embarrassed about your problem. Know that it is important to get help sooner rather than later!