There are numerous ways to find new and interesting pieces of information online about how to save money and keep control of your bank balance. However, I was keen to add a little more insight to the Buckscoop blog around impulse buying and what you can do to crush those financially crippling urges.
Impulse purchases often feel great in the heat of the moment. You have a burning desire to own something, you see it and you buy it. It gives some people so much pleasure that the feeling can cause addiction and result in racking up huge credit card debts. I'm not saying you will become a 'spendaholic', but, with these little tips you may be able to control your impulse buying urges and instead give yourself a better chance of making an educated purchasing decision. Take note though that putting power back into you bank account requires discipline and control.
I've personally learnt the hard way with purchases of mobile phones and televisions, for example. "If only I'd waited a little longer I would have saved x, y and z," I often catch myself thinking a few days after the new-product excitement had worn off. Or why did I let my friend’s purchase persuade me to buy the same thing that I don't actually need.
Patience is a Virtue
As soon as you feel the urge to impulse buy then you need to catch yourself and force yourself to at least sleep on the decision. Simply waiting 24 hours can prevent almost all impulse purchases. If you still want the item the next day as badly as you did before, you have given yourself enough time to seriously consider buying. The psychological process of thinking about something for an extended period of time can help us really evaluate and separate a need from a want.
Avoid Temptation and Deliver us from Evil
Self-control is difficult in all aspects of our lives. People’s ability to control themselves differs across the world, some are better whilst others are worse. However, the most common cause for impulse buying is exposing yourself to situations that test your ability of self-control.
Protecting yourself can come from actions such as the following:
- Avoid Technology – Advertisers pay premium prices to get their products advertised in front of you on any device you own. Disconnect from the digital world every now and again to reduce your exposure and also give yourself a healthy period of down time. Unsubscribing from any websites, which don’t have good deals, can also reduce temptation.
- Avoid Retail Outlets – Staying at home can do wonders for your pocket. Staying away from retail stores and the temptation they bring kills the inner impulse urge right in the heart.
Organise and Prepare
I’ve previously written about planning and preparing your shopping trips with a list. Doing so prevents you from deviating away from your needs and buying 'the wants' that tempt you. I for one know that when I forget my grocery shopping list, I always end up spending more (and ultimately throwing away more food too). The concept of list-making can also be adapted to more than just shopping lists like, for example, writing down your family’s needs. By doing this as a family, you can create a list of collective needs and then prioritise those clearly together. This gives all of you a common understanding of where to save money and also means that you can all actively look for good deals or sales that would allow either you or a family member to buy a list item within your set budget.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Despite money being important in helping us meet our everyday needs, it can still a chore for many of us to have to think about saving all the time. Particularly so during those tighter months when its difficult to any aside for a rainy day. To alleviate this related stress and pressure, you should consider regularly factoring a small amount of your monthly budget which you and your spouse can carelessly enjoy. This amount could be as little as $10 per pay check, but the idea of knowing you have a little amount to spend just for yourself is quite fun. It also helps take the sting out of regularly putting sufficient sums of money aside to meet your saving goals.
Are you satisfied?
Satisfaction and contentment impact our impulse buying habits greatly. Take your stereotypical hippie, for example, who is happy to live off the land after having reached a high level of contentment within their life. If you spent just 2 minutes per day considering how some people might be living right now in Africa or poorer parts of Asia, then you'll begin to realise how much better off you actually are even without that new iPhone 6. The old story of money doesn’t buy happiness rings true in this 5th tip. You can have all the money in the world, but you may not have your best friends around you or family either. Money can buy instant pick-me-ups but it cannot buy loving friends or family whomever you are. Accept and be satisfied with what you currently have and you might just find that’s all you need.
I hope this post encourages you to curb your impulse buying habits so that you can start becoming more financially independent each and every month. All you need to remember is that self control is taught to us, not given to us.