For many people, the biggest budget buster is those small, impulse purchases that slowly build up over time. Here are some of the ways that you can help eliminate these impulse purchases to help you save money.
The first thing you should do is identify if there are behaviors that lead to your impulse purchases. Often times, making purchases be an emotional response to something that happened in our life, such as trying to cheer ourselves up after a rough day or rewarding ourselves for positive behavior. Take a look back at your buying history and see if you can find these patterns.
TAKE A TIMEOUT
When faced with something you want to buy, take a step back and give yourself at least an hour to think about it. Is it something you really need or just really want? Once you get into this routine, add another hour, think about it overnight, or even give yourself a week. Allowing yourself time will help you make a smart, informed decision instead of giving in to your impulses.
When you do have to go out shopping, make a list and only stop at stores where the items you need are available. For example, for groceries, utilize your local grocery store instead of a big-box store where you may be tempted to buy items that you don’t really need. Stick to your list and don’t make trips down any unnecessary aisles or departments.
Whenever possible, use cash when you are out shopping. The amount of money we are spending may not actually register when using a debit or credit card. By using cash, there is more of a psychological response to the money actually leaving your hand and you are less likely to make the purchase.
HAVE ROOM FOR FUN
A budget without any room for fun is a budget designed to fail. Set aside money each month that can be used towards those unexpected ‘fun’ purchases. However, once the money is gone, it’s gone and if you blow it at the beginning of the month, that’s it. If you still have money at the end of the month, you can either roll it over or put it in your savings.