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Avoiding spending on impulse

Louise Fairsave

Avoiding spending on impulse

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Getting control of the amount spent on impulse could revitalize your finances. The main point of continuing your expense tracking over these months has been to identify how you actually spend your money compared to how you think that you spend it; the two are typically quite different and a lot of that difference relates to impulse spending.  So, here are 10 pointers on how to avoid impulse spending:
1. First, make use of your expense tracking exercise so far in seeing what your weaknesses with impulsive shopping are. Is the amount spent on impulse much higher than you expected? Allow the information you have collected to guide your plans for change.
2. Such information will identify your other weak areas for impulsive shopping. For example, do you tend to buy costume jewellery, cosmetics, books, music and such items? Well, then avoid those kinds of stores and change your normal route and routine in order to suit.
3. Whenever you are going shopping make a list and stick as close to it as possible.
4. When you find that you are tempted to purchase an item that is not on your list, delay the decision until you have had additional time to consider that purchase. You should let at least 24 hours pass before reviewing that purchase idea. Furthermore, examine the items that you bought four or more months ago and that you have not yet used. Can they be returned? No matter what, such items should be on a “never buy again” list.
5. Go shopping alone. Avoid going shopping with a group of friends, especially those friends that encourage you to spend or who like to show off with their spending. Indeed, it is important to go shopping with a clear mind and to avoid shopping when you are very excited or happy. You are encouraged to look for sales and target your shopping for “needs” and not “wants” then.
Exhaust every possible excuse why you should not make the purchase and if all those excuses fail to divert your mind – then, maybe that purchase is a “need”.
6. Have an adequate meal before you go shopping – food and drink – so you reduce the temptation to snack or even have a full meal.
7. Pay only with cash. When the cash is gone, it is time to quit. Shopping on credit encourages you to go beyond realistic limits.
8. Learn a pleasing way to say no to children or find a way to distract them when they pressure you to purchase a particular game or toy.
9. Limit the number of times and the elapsed time that you spend shopping. When you go shopping, enter the store with your list defining your purpose and when you have accomplished that purpose, leave the store.
10. Review your tracked expenses and consider how the funds spent on impulse shopping could have helped you to get closer to affording your special vacation destination, or some other treat you have in mind.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you get your impulse shopping more in line with your long-term financial goals.
•  Louise Fairsave is a personal financial management advisor, providing practical advice on money and estate matters. Her advice is general in nature; readers should seek advice about their specific circumstances.