Your hard-earned money should be spent on things that matter to you, not on impulse purchases that leave you feeling guilty later. Here are five tips to help you manage your impulse spending:
Understand Your Triggers
Impulse spending can be triggered by anything from boredom to anxiety. Keep a journal of your spending habits and try to identify what sets off your urge to spend. Once you know your triggers, you can begin to avoid them.
Create a Budget – and Stick to It!
A budget will help you become more mindful of your spending and make it easier to stick to your financial goals. When creating your budget, be realistic and allow some wiggle room for incidentals.
Save First, Spend Later
One of the best ways to avoid impulse spending is to pay yourself first. Automate your savings so that a fixed amount is transferred to your savings account each month before you have a chance to spend it. Then, when you do have extra money, you can treat yourself without guilt.
Think Twice Before You Swipe
Whether you’re using cash or a credit card, make it a rule to think twice – or even three times! – before making a purchase. It allows you to consider whether you need or want the item and can afford it.
Find Free or Low-Cost Alternatives
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are plenty of free or low-cost activities, from hiking and picnicking to visiting a museum or attending a community event. Get creative and see how much you can do without spending much money.
Impulse spending can sabotage your financial goals, but it doesn’t have to. Understanding your triggers and creating a budget allows you to control your spending and ensure you spend your money well. If tempted to make an impulse purchase, remember that plenty of free or low-cost alternatives can be just as enjoyable.