Good Morning January! Have you seen your credit card bill for December’s holiday spending? How about last year’s summary of spending? Do you have savings left?
I suddenly feel that cold air of regret. There, there. *Pats on the back*. I know, if only you didn’t buy that soda maker or those designer clothes on sale, you would’ve had plenty of money left.
Vow to stop impulse buying once and for all this coming 2018! With our New Year, New You series, we give you tips on how you can hopefully curb your card swiping appetite this coming year.
Set Your Goals for this Year and the Long-Term.
The single best defense to fighting impulse buying is setting your goals for the long-term. These realistic goals must be something you badly want to have. But how does this help fight impulse buying, you ask?
Let’s say you plan to travel the world (digital nomad style) in the future. You set a ballpark figure of the things you need and arrived at an amount of $5,000 to kick-off your lifetime of adventure.
And then, you created a realistic budget with these simple steps<. You know where to spend your money.
It plays on the concept of Opportunity Costs.
These are the cost of lost opportunity when you buy something else out of your money. If you buy those pair of socks for $25, you cannot use that same $25 to buy a round trip discounted plane ticket to a local destination.
Sample Scenario: the coming week, you saw that shiny thing on sale. With the end goal in mind, you can now ask yourself before buying:
- Will this help me meet my long-term goals?
- Is there a cheaper alternative?
- Can I borrow this or buy it second hand?
- Do I really need this NOW, or can it wait?
You tend to ask yourself these questions because now YOUR MONEY HAS A PURPOSE.
Wait Out Before You Buy
What if you’re unsure? Wait out before you buy. For those on retail stores, try asking the questions above first before picking the item up.
You can also Take a Picture First and return back after one-week. Some even wait as long as 30 days before they buy the item. With this, most likely, the impulse to buy is gone. And if you still want it by then, go ahead and buy it.
You can also apply this technique to online purchases. If you’re buying from Amazon, there is this nifty plug-in for chrome called Amazon Contemplate. This plugin lets you “contemplate” your purchases with a timer before you hit that check out button.
Within this time, ask yourself the questions listed above.
Have a Budget for Spending
We only have a limited amount of willpower. We can’t really fight all our urges.
Most people fail because they made a strict budget without leeway for spending. With one failure, you messed up your budget. Motivation often comes with a lot of victories. And with failure upon failure, why continue pursuing our goal?
To avoid this, creating that realistic budget above plays an important role. If you budget a portion of your income for this types of spending, you still are on track despite the occasional lapses.
With the tips above, you can basically repress your shopaholic tendencies. These are more tips to help you just in case:
Don’t Go to the Mall or Visit Online Retail Sites
Prevention is better than cure. Why seduce yourself with the “temptation fruit” when you can just avoid going to the garden! This may be simple but abstaining from the mall or retail outlets can go a long way.
Don’t forget blocking those online retail sites as well.
Don’t Go When You’re Emotional
If you absolutely need to go, don’t schedule your shopping when you’re emotional. The hurt after that breakup or failure may sway away your logic. Instead of just buying 2 cartons of milk, you might end up with a 4K flat screen TV because you deserve it. True Story.
Avoid Shopping Buddies
Yes, this may be your bonding time. But, shopping companions might influence you to buy more stuff than you actually need (especially if you have notorious shopaholic friends).
“Is this worth it?” you ask. A simple “Why not?” from your companion might throw your restrain all in the drain.
If you really need to go with companions, you can tell them: “You are saving up for something.” Or at the very least, repeatedly tell that to your inner self.
You can also appoint a friend to act as the “conscience” for your group. Choose the one who will really reprimand everyone for their exuberant spending. It may not be as fun as before, but at least you get to spend less.
Impulsive spending is really a problem for almost everyone. With this, I hope we stick to our strategies and reach our financial goals this year!
*MUST. RESIST. BUYING.*