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I’m sure you’ve been there. You’re walking through your favorite store and see something that you have to have. It goes in the basket. As you turn down another aisle, you see another item that will go perfect in your home. In the basket it goes. And then you stumble upon the kid’s section. Your child would look adorable in that outfit. So you add it to your cart. Next thing you know, you’re checking out and you’re spending way more than you had planned. Deep down you know it’s time you put a stop to all the impulse spending.
If this isn’t you then I applaud you. But if it is, then I can relate. I used to walk into stores and walk out 45 minutes later wondering what happened. I had just spent $200 that I didn’t plan on spending but I couldn’t help myself! Over time I had to learn how to stop impulse spending. It still happens every now and then, but hey…I’m a work in progress y’all! Below are 12 ways to help stop impulse spending in its tracks so that you can keep your money where it belongs…in your bank account!
1. Unsubscribe from store emails.
If you’re trying to stop spending money then the last thing you need popping up in your inbox each day is all the deals and offers that your favorite store is offering. Hit the unsubscribe button, friend. You won’t regret it.
2. Unfollow stores on social media.
Places like Target and Ulta have entire teams that work on their social media campaigns. Their posts are designed to make you want to buy something or head to their store! If you’ve noticed that your favorite stores on social media are triggers for you then SHUT THEM DOWN. You are the only one allowing them in your feed. You have complete control over what you see, so stop seeing the things that are causing you to overspend day in and day out.
3. Keep your debit card at home.
I’ve been there. You’re walking through the store for just a few things. But then something catches your eye so you toss it in your cart. “What’s an extra $9?” you think. But when that happens 5 or 6 times, you’re overspending by a lot! To help break this habit, don’t bring your debit card with you in the store. Instead, count out exactly how much money you’ll need in cash to buy those items and only bring that. You’ll be forced to stick to your list.
4. Use cash envelopes.
I have a confession…if it wasn’t for cash envelopes, we would spend hundreds upon hundreds going out to each month. The truth is that I don’t really enjoy cooking. I do it because it’s a healthier (and CHEAPER) lifestyle. We have to use cash envelopes for our food category each month or else we will continue to go out to eat and not fully realize just how much we are spending on restaurants. I know you’ve been there. Whether you overspend on food, home décor items, or clothes, I know you can relate! So take the category that you tend to overspend in and commit to using cash envelopes. You can learn more about cash envelopes and sign up to get FREE printable cash envelopes HERE.
5. Cancel Amazon Prime.
I know, I know. I love Amazon Prime just as much as the last person. You can’t beat 2-day shipping! But if Amazon is a trigger for you (that “Buy Now” button is fatal) then cancel it! Remember that just because you cancel Amazon Prime doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for it again when you have your spending under control.
6. Let the items sit in your cart.
This is a must when it comes to online shopping! I’ve learned over time that when I’m shopping online or I think I really want to buy something, I let the item sit in my cart for a few days. If I still want it in a week (and if it’s in the budget) then I’ll get it. To be honest, sometimes the desire to buy the item fades. I’ll be the first to admit that I get a rush out of buying something. It’s just plain FUN. And I’ve learned to not let that rush be the reason why I’m buying something online or in the store. Allowing an item to sit in your cart helps you determine if it’s something that you truly want or need.
7. Have an accountability partner.
Saying no to impulse spending can be hard. There, I said it. I know that it’s not easy because usually, it has to do with something else much deeper than just spending money (we’ll get to that in a moment). To help you stay on track, ask a friend or spouse to be your accountability partner. Talk to them about your spending goals and let them hold you accountable and give you a pep talk when you want to impulse buy. You’ll be amazed at how much you can benefit from having an accountability partner.
8. Calculate the cost in hours worked.
Sometimes all it takes to deter me from buying an expensive product is to think of how many hours I’ll have to work to pay for that product. For example, let’s say you make $15 an hour. You’re browsing through your favorite store and before you know it you’ve spent $150 on stuff that you don’t really need. When you calculate that out, it will take you TEN hours to pay for those items! Sometimes thinking of it that way will keep you from checking out altogether.
9. Don’t save your card information online.
Stores have made it so easy to spend money online these days. They’ve made impulse shopping second nature! Let’s take Amazon as an example. You can store your card info online and click the “Buy Now” button on any item. It doesn’t take you to a cart. Doesn’t ask you if you’re really sure you want to buy this item. Just BAM! You bought it. This is dangerous for impulse shoppers. To keep this from happening, do not store your bank information online. You’ll have an added step of entering your card info which will give you another minute to really think about your purchase!
10. Stay out of the stores.
You can’t buy anything if you don’t go to the store or website! Sometimes the only solution to stopping impulse buying in its tracks is to just kick the temptation out of your life. There was a time in my life that I spent money at Target all.the.time. I had to learn how to stop letting Target take all my money (read that full article HERE). One of the big things I did was limit how often I would go inside the store. I knew that if I stepped into The Motherland (that’s what I call Target) then I would want to buy everything. And for so long, I let my “wants” control me. To help combat this bad habit, I had to just stay away! Avoid the stores or websites where you have little self-control.
11. Focus on what you want long term.
I know that you have amazing financial goals that you want to reach. Impulse shopping and overspending keeps you from reaching those financial goals sooner! So make sure you are focusing on what you truly want long term in your life when it comes to your money. Do you want to be able to travel the world without going into debt? Or maybe you want to provide for your kids when they head to college. Focus on your bigger goals to help combat impulse spending.
12. Get to the root of the issue.
Most of the time, bad habits are caused by something that has happened in our lives. I want you to ask yourself why you tend to spend money impulsively. Are you trying to fill an empty void? Are you turning toward material possessions for your happiness? Do the work and get to the root of the issue with your overspending.
Impulse spending can be stopped. I know because I’ve been there firsthand. Although you won’t be perfect with your spending, there is room for progress!