When to Say "No" to Impulse Purchases
Most of us have purchased unnecessary things from time to time. Whether it's a souvenir from a recent vacation that sits in a drawer or a sale item that you thought you couldn't live without, impulse purchases are notorious for stealthily eating away at your budget. When we buy stuff that serves little or no purpose, we begin to lose control of our relationship with money.
Curbing the urge to spend on things that don't add value to your life can be a challenge, but a few simple tips can help you prioritize spending. You'll save money, have less clutter, and maybe even find a renewed sense of happiness. Here's how to tame impulse purchases and regain power over your money.
Adjust Your Budget to Reflect Your Everyday Living
Impulse purchases aren't usually factored into your budget, which by definition involves planning what you'll buy in advance to help curb spending. Most budgeting templates have categories for every possible purchase and they can help you identify and manage your spending.
Creating a budget provides direction for your spending habits and visibility into your cash flow. Once you've identified a workable spending plan, keep it in mind the next time you walk past a sales rack.
Say "No" to a Purchase, Even When You Can Afford It
While creating a detailed budget is crucial no matter your income level, you may not be as concerned about it if you know you can afford to indulge every now and again. This is especially true if your impulse purchases tend to have smaller price tags. The problem, in this case, is how easily these small purchases can add up. Budget planning isn't only about making sure your bills get paid, it's also there to help you make the most of your money.
Limit Window Shopping and Temptation
Have you ever walked into your favorite big-box store to pick up two small items only to find yourself rolling out 30 minutes later with a full shopping cart and an emptier wallet? If you want to add some cash back to your budget, try to limit your shopping to only when it's necessary. Consider setting a specific day for grocery shopping, instead of hitting the store every day on the way home from work. Although impulse buying has the potential to run rampant online, you can also avoid overbuying by just ordering what you need online, without browsing in person.
Use Time as a Spending Buffer
When you're tempted by a sale item that might not be essential to your life, sleep on it. Give yourself 24 hours to consider the purchase. Over the next day, ask yourself a few simple questions. Is it affordable? Do I need it? How long will it last? Can something else that I already own serve this purpose? With this time buffer, unnecessary purchases will make themselves known.
Give Yourself Permission, Every Once in a While
Budgeting isn't just about saving money — it's about balance. A reasonable budget should include discretionary purchases. Treat yourself once a month or on special occasions.
Overall, you can limit impulse purchases by changing your relationship with your money and shopping. Find joy in something other than the latest sale, and start maximizing the value of your money.