Which of us did not stand in line with a full basket and thought: “But I came only for bread”? Who has never uttered the phrase: “Well, for such money, it is a sin not to buy this”? It all seems quite natural, but for some reason it’s getting harder and harder to reduce the monthly balance… If you don’t understand where the money is going, look for the reason in impulse buying.
Impulse buying is all that we buy under the influence of the moment, without a preliminary plan or urgent need. Impulse purchases sneak into the budget unnoticed and undermine it from the inside. Here are a small set of rules that help to get rid of the habit of spending money spontaneously.
Methods that help you avoid impulse buying
Method 1. Stick to the list
This is the basis of daily planning and an informed approach to shopping. To avoid unnecessary spending, you first have to determine what you actually need. For this purpose, lists of necessary goods are written, which you strictly follow during each trip to the store.
Writing shopping lists will help you avoid impulse buying only if they are is complete, accurate, thoughtful, and transportable. For this reason, I still decided to abandon the old-fashioned shopping lists on paper in favor of mobile notes. They are much more convenient for storing information, and a modern person’s phone is more often at hand than a pen.
Method 2: Maintain regular records
Many simply do not see the point in learning to avoid impulsive buying. Why deprive yourself of simple joys? A detailed record of all income and expenses usually provides an answer to this question. Impulsive buying behaviour leads to losing significant sums that could be spent more efficiently. Having a good financial plan often becomes an impetus to monitor your spending habits more closely.
In addition to motivation, budget management makes it possible to identify the most “dangerous” areas – as a rule, it is food, clothing, hobbies, and entertainment. Collect a dossier to know what to start working on first of all. Your efforts will be rewarded when next month you see what savings you have achieved, merely through fighting the temptation to jump into a cafe just a couple of times.
Method 3. Do not carry extra money
Everything is clear here – if the money is left at home, you will not spend it at impulse. It sounds like a quite a radical way out, but for serious problems with unplanned expenses, it is worth taking it into account. Choosing products thoughtfully and not deviating from the intended plan will teach you to avoid impulse buying.
You can argue that this technique is already outdated. Now everyone is switching to bank cards, which means they carry all their capital with them.
This trend really exists and hurts us greatly. Studies show that we part with non-cash money than with paper. The point here is that due to its abstract nature, payment by card is perceived by our consciousness as not quite real – we are not so clearly aware of how much we have spent.
Therefore, those who regularly go beyond the bounds of their budget should cash out money before going to the store. Another option is to have several accounts for different needs (daily expenses, large purchases, savings). Well, it’s better to just forget about credit cards.
Method 4: Plan for spontaneous spending
Of course, it is pleasant to think that since Monday we will gather our will into a fist and will live without any frills at all, but why deceive ourselves? Controlling spending does not always mean buying only the boring and necessary stuff and never indulging yourself.
Instead of completely exorcising goodies and pleasant things from the budget, give them their rightful place in it. Pledge a small amount to renew your summer wardrobe, if you know that without this, sooner or later you will lose control and buy half a shop.
Analyze your habits, try to understand when you have an overwhelming desire to buy too much and prepare in advance.
Do you crave chocolate when you’re out? Carry a couple of chocolate bars with you, and you do not have to run to the supermarket.
Uncontrolled and impulse buying will cost you much more than a small indulgence to bring down the desire.
I think this idea will not appeal to everyone. For many, the pleasure lies in the very process of buying, especially at a time when you want to cheer yourself up. This healing of mental ills with shopping trips is now known as shopping therapy. The selection process and the feeling that we have something new, gives a release of endorphins and really brings joy for a while. Alas, this is often followed by a “hangover” – regret for the money spent and displeasure with oneself.
Opinions about shopping therapy vary. Someone thinks that “if a little bit is possible,” someone sees in it a serious risk of developing dependence. The second point of view is closer to me. Even if you keep yourself within the framework, the very habit of seeking solace in unnecessary things is not compatible with the philosophy of minimalism .
If you regularly catch yourself on the fact that the hand itself reaches for a credit card, when you are sad, try other ways to get distracted by something pleasant – take a hobby, call friends or look for sympathy from a cat.
Method 5: Choose the time and place
Sometimes euphoria pushes us to waste money unnecessarily – the desire to celebrate some great success, the feeling that you are at the top of the world and can deny yourself nothing.
On the other hand, the state of fatigue and depression can also work as a trigger: there is no strength to think and count, I just want to grab the first thing that comes to hand. The best way is to shop when you are calm, focused and able to reason sensibly.
Another danger factor is the company of other people. Psychologists say that someone else’s example is contagious, and the influence of ads inspires us to consume more. There are many reasons for this – from banal envy or a tendency to imitate. So think twice before inviting friends to go shopping together, and even more so – to go with them just for the company.
Of course, this does not mean that you can only appear in the store in strict isolation. If you want to consult with home before a large purchase – it is quite another matter. Some researchers even claim that in the presence of a family, on the contrary, we tend to spend less money!
Method 6. Apply the rule of thirty days
Or one week, or even a few hours – the point is to postpone the purchase at least for a while and give yourself a cooling period. The nature of the impulse is such that it has a strong effect on us, but it quickly fades. Sometimes it’s enough just to be distracted for a while, to look with a sober look at your closet with things or a shelf with disks – and you will be surprised what happened to you at that moment.
But keep in mind: the more you plan to spend, the longer the pause should be taken before the final decision.
Marketers are well aware of this psychological characteristics and are doing everything to take away the time for calm thinking. You will surely easily be able to remember the cases when an advertisement drove you with a purchase (“The special offer is valid only today!”, “Two hours left until the end of the auction”, “Your points are burning tomorrow”) Do not fall for this trick – it is better to take it as a rule not to consider any “burning” offers at all if you often repent after such purchases.
Method 7. Be wary of discounts.
After all, they simply save us money by definition! In fact, things are not so simple, and often discounts bring our budget no good, but harm.
First, we are not so well able to count the benefits, as it seems to us. Rather, we often do not even try to count on something. Flashing large red letters, the percent sign with a minus and crossed out prices have a hypnotizing effect on many people – if it is said that it is cheap, it means it is. Of course, such a faith in the word is the height of naivety: no one bothers the store to inflate the price before the “discount”, add less attractive conditions of the promotion in small print or use hundreds of other tricks.
Secondly, even if the stock is actually profitable, it is by no means a fact that we really need the goods. The noble goal of saving us, as it were, unties our hands and pushes us to buy “cheap” things on which we should not have wasted money at all. How, then, to avoid the temptation? This is where the first tip will help you. Hold for yourself that no discounts are the reason to take what is not listed in the list.