Many Americans shop compulsively, which is probably why so many of us are looking for ways to curb our spending urges. You might have seen people stick their credit card in the freezer or leave their wallet at home when they go to the mall, just to avoid giving into the temptation of buying.
The problem with these techniques is that they don’t tackle the root of your impulsive spending problem: the way you’re thinking about shopping. If you think your spending issue is a short-term one, you can use 24Cash for a loan until your finances balance out.
Here are ten better ways to stop impulsive spending. The sooner you start implementing these techniques, the more control you’ll exert over your finances.
1. Don’t Quit Cold Turkey
As with any addiction, impulsive shopping is difficult to stop. Many people try to simply cut out the habit by taking away their access to money or promising not to buy anything for the rest of the month. However, studies have shown that “cold turkey” methods rarely work out for addicts.
Instead, focus on weaning yourself off of impulsive spending. Start by only allowing yourself to buy one thing on every shopping trip. Then, cut it down to one thing per week. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you feel more in control of your buying habits.
2. Make Yourself Wait
Don’t tell yourself that you can’t have that dress you spotted or those headphones you suddenly NEED. Instead, tell yourself that you must wait three days before you make the purchase. You’ll find that your desperation to buy the item may weaken over the waiting period. If it doesn’t, then you’ll be less likely to regret your purchase if you go back for it.
3. Beware the Traps of Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all of your other favorite apps aren’t trying to help you save money. If anything, they’re begging you to pour more money into your favorite stores. Between the regular pop up ads for sales and the influencers who advertise products, your social media feeds are encouraging your bad spending habits. Consider limiting your time on these apps to decrease your urge to buy.
4. Tell Others About Your Goal
If you love shopping with friends, let them know that you’re trying to cut down on your impulsive buying. Everyone needs an accountability partner when they start changing their habits, and this case is no different. Ask them to remind you about your goals whenever you’re tempted to throw something in your cart.
5. Remember That a Sales Isn’t an Excuse to Buy
Just because something is 40 percent off doesn’t mean it’s something worth buying. Don’t let big sale signs or Black Friday throw you off track. Sales are especially dangerous because they encourage people to buy impulsively rather than intelligently, so beware.
6. Make a Shopping List and Stick to It
Like I said in the first part of this list, going cold turkey probably won’t work. To cut down on your spending without actually halting all your shopping, make a selective list of things you’re allowed to buy during the next month. This can include anything from new boots to dinner plates, as long as the items are things you truly need.
7. Find Activities to Replace Your Spending
Many times, people wind up shopping because they’re feeling antsy or stressed. Instead of relying on retail therapy, find other hobbies that benefit your life. For instance, next time you feel the urge to shop online, go for a run or learn to cook a new meal.
8. Set Goals and Look Ahead
One way to learn to love saving is to work towards a big goal. Maybe you want to travel to Bali next year, or perhaps you want to save up for a nicer car. Every time you start to buy something online or in a store, ask yourself if you would rather put that money towards your goal. Often, the answer will be yes.
9. Ask Yourself Questions Before You Buy
There are three big questions you should ask yourself before you buy anything: (1) Do I need it? (2) Do I love it? (3) Is it a good price? If the item you’re considering doesn’t earn a “yes” to at least two of these three questions, then it’s probably not worth spending your money on.
10. Give Yourself One Splurge Day Every Now and Then
Instead of spending little bits of money here and there throughout the month (that eventually add up), give yourself one shopping budget and spend it all in one splurge day. This will allow you to cleanse your mind of shopping urges, but you’ll also still be in control of how much you’re spending on non-necessities.
Learning to shop purposefully, rather than impulsively, is difficult for most American consumers. However, doing so will radically change the way you view money and your lifestyle in general. Start today so that you can have a more meaningful, financially-stable future.