Impulse buying can be the downfall of many a budget if you want to try to get your finances in order by cutting out impulse spending then it might seem a little daunting but it is doable. Planning ahead is key when trying to tackle any challenge. We’ve compiled a list of handy tips to help you achieve your challenge of stopping impulse spending and take control of your money.
7 Ways to curb impulse spending
Focus on Your Goals
To succeed at any kind of challenge or to break a habit, it’s important to focus on your goals, to remember why you’re doing something. Perhaps you’re working to get out of debt, or maybe you’re saving up for a holiday, for your children’s education, or for retirement – learning to resist impulse spending will mean more money in your pocket to go towards these things. Focusing on the “why” will help you to stay strong and resist temptation!
Do a Stock-Take
It’s good to get into the habit of doing this regularly anyway, to save money and avoid food waste. Make a list of everything currently in your freezer and your cupboards, taking special notice of anything approaching its use-by or best before date. Some people like to use an app like AnyList to keep track of their inventories; you can use it for shopping lists and recipes too.
You might be surprised at how many meals you can cobble together from what you already have in the house. Knowing what you have on hand will stop those daily dashes to the supermarket which in turn limits the chance of impulse spending.
Meal planning can be a real game-changer for budgeting and if you’re trying to avoid impulse spending on takeaways then it’s a key strategy.
It’s a natural extension from the previous step. If you know what you have in stock already, you can plan all three meals per day for each member of the household, plus snacks. Then you need to commit to shop only according to this plan, so there’s no temptation to impulse-buy convenience food on your way home from work! You’ll probably find that you end up making healthier choices this way too, and reducing food waste.
Do everything you can to make things easier for yourself! Unsubscribe from marketing emails, remove your card details from your computer cookies and remove the “buy now” option from your Amazon account so that you can’t make online payments so easily.
Enforce a ‘Cooling Off’ period
Create a “cooling off period” for things they want to buy, put things into your online cart but leave them sitting there. If you still want it, or think you need it, after say three weeks, then you’re allowed to buy it. Sometimes you’ll even get vouchers sent to you to entice you to make a purchase if you leave them in your cart ling enough
It makes sense to avoid shopping centres if you’re trying to avoid impulse purchases. It can also be helpful to leave your money and bank cards at home if you go out for a walk; that way, you simply can’t buy anything, even if you feel the urge!
Use up What You’ve Got
The same principle applies here as for your food stock-take. You probably have plenty of things lurking around in your house that you could use up before you buy more. Travel-sized shampoos and body lotion? Beauty samples? Random bottles of spirits from holidays abroad? Time to start looking up some inventive cocktails, maybe!
Get Stuff Done!
If you’re used to spending a lot of money on entertainment, you might find yourself getting bored during your no spend challenge. This could be the ideal time to get things done that you’ve been putting off for months, or even years.
You could generate some extra money by selling those things in the garage that have been gathering dust, or have a big sort out and declutter of your house. You could sort out all your paperwork, or donate some things to a charity shop. Try to be productive with all the time you have on your hands!