As the cost of living continues to increase, many of us are looking for ways to tighten our purse strings. We recently published a guide on easy ways to save on energy bills, but what about the other things we spend money on?
It may come as no surprise that many things we purchase are not essential. Impulse purchases (things you buy without planning to) definitely fall into this category.
Impulse purchases can include anything from a chocolate bar in the supermarket check-out queue to a new sweater you spot in a shop window while passing. Spending spontaneously is exciting and adventurous but it’s not good for our bank balance.
Sound familiar? Here’s how to stop impulse buying…
Try the 24-hour rule
Be strict with yourself and try not to purchase anything without some forward planning. If you spot something in the shops or add something to your online basket, try the 24-hour rule where you wait a whole day before actually making the purchase. This will give you time to properly think things through and decide whether you really need the item. A lot of the time you may decide it’s not worthwhile, after all.
Make and stick to a budget
It’s easier said than done but making a monthly budget is a great way to stop impulse spending. Be clear about your disposable income, limit your spending and set yourself realistic goals on savings. After a few months, you’ll have a much better idea of how much money you actually have and you might appreciate the cost of things more. And what better way to motivate yourself to stop impulse buying?
Let yourself spend some money
But at the same time, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Allow yourself some flexibility with your budget (if it’s possible) and let yourself spend money on fun things (within reason). After all, it’s important to enjoy yourself. If you’re too strict with yourself from the start, you may end up rebelling and going on an even bigger splurge. And nobody wants to deal with the guilt hangover from that.
A lot of the time, we impulse buy because we’re bored and looking for things to do. Keep your mind occupied to stop the temptation of shopping. This could be anything from meeting a friend for a walk or listening to your favourite music at home. If you find different ways of self-soothing and entertaining yourself, you’ll be much less likely to go on an impulse spending spree.
Find a partner
If your impulse spending is getting out of hand, it can be a good idea to seek support from an accountability partner. This could be a friend, spouse or family member. Try to meet them once a month to discuss your finances and help you to establish a healthy approach to spending.
If you’re really struggling with your impulse spending, UK Rehab offers counselling services on shopping addictions, while Mind charity also provides information and support on spending money for comfort.