If you calculate all the money you spend on unnecessary items every month, you may be astonished – and possibly even heartbroken. That extra money could have meant a new dress or a new suit to last you much longer than a few hours. More importantly, you could have used it to pay a household bill or maybe even saved it up for a rainy day.
Avoiding impulse buying is a smart way to reduce expenses and save money, but with so much to buy, so much to see, and so much to do, how do you do it? What’s the secret?
Well, there is no magic potion, but here are a few ways to avoid impulse buying that are relatively simple.
1. Remember the value of cash.
If you’re planning a shopping trip or a night out, hide your credit cards and debit cards. Keep one with you for emergencies, but tell yourself that you will not use it. Instead, stop by a Georgia Heritage FCU ATM beforehand and take out only what you can afford and only what you will allow yourself to spend that day. If you don’t have more money to spend, you can’t spend it.
2. Stick to your shopping list.
You’ve heard it 100 times before and probably even said it a few times yourself: “I walked into the store for one thing and walked out with a shopping cart full of stuff I don’t even need!” Don’t do that to your budget, or your body for that matter.
Instead, download a grocery shopping list app. Before you leave home, walk through the house, browse through your car, and think about your plans for the week to determine what you should buy. Type the list into the app, and then refer to it as you’re shopping. Buy those items, walk out, and don’t look back.
3. Create and follow a budget.
It sounds cliche, but it helps. When you create a budget, you can literally see what you can afford to spend and where you can save money. Knowing you have a budget to follow can give you the willpower to do so.
4. Beware of technology.
It may be harder to save money today than it was generations ago. Why? In the past, you had to leave home to spend money; today, you can spend money both inside and outside of the house, literally at any minute of any day as long as you have internet access and a credit card.
Whether you have a weakness for downloading games, buying shoes, or perhaps even trying to get that great deal for a seven-day cruise, it’s important to avoid the temptation. Minimize the amount of time you will allow yourself to shop online, and remember that the money you spend online is cash too; it’s just in the form of plastic instead of paper.
Another trick is to wait a few days before you make that online purchase. When you do, you may find that you don’t really want that item after all.
5. Make long-term goals.
Impulse buying is about instant gratification, but think about how much more gratifying that, say, all-inclusive trip to the Bahamas will be with the money you can save. Or how much more fun it will be to visit your uncle in Colorado for that skiing trip. Or how you could buy yourself that new piece of exercise equipment. Make bigger plans, and immediate gratification might not be so enticing.
Talk with a Georgia Heritage FCU representative or see our news and events page for more money-saving tips.