Three Ways to Avoid Spending:
During my lunchbreak at work, I usually only do a couple of things: one – I go to the gym and workout, two – on my off days from the gym (maybe 1 or 2 days each week, I’ll go to the mall and walk around). Two has the potential to be dangerous! That’s because it’s not hard at all to find something you like and want to buy or “impulse buy”.
You’ll see something nice, innocent, unassuming, non-judging (ok I’ll stop lol) that may not even cost a lot like e.g. a pair of socks, a trendy bracelet, a scarf or maybe even a sugary snack from the food court. But the more often you go, the more this can happen. According to creditcards.com, 75% of adult Americans from a survey of 1,000 have made an impulse purchase in the past and a subset spent over $500: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/impulse-purchase-survey.php. Houston, we have a problem!
So how can one avoid the urge to buy? Usually (1st way) I walk in the mall and don’t bother to go into any stores. It’s when I already have a plan to go buy something or spend in the mall beforehand that I will actually perform the act….of spending. Recently I needed to get a new battery in my watch so I went to one of the kiosks and the guy was charging me almost $15, but I negotiated him down to $9!
I know many have heard that if you fail to plan, then you will plan to fail. An example (2nd way) of this is not making a list when you go grocery shopping. Failing to do so can increase the likelihood of buying impulse products that just look good.
Another danger is never to go to the grocery store or any store for that matter when you’re hungry! Forbes magazine says that according to a study of 81 consumers 64% spent more at a departmental store then their counterparts, whom according to a questionnaire they completed asked about their mood including the level of hunger: Forbes Questionnaire. So if you make a list, and also perhaps a meal plan then you can strategically and efficiently go, buy the products you need and leave – tunnel vision, lol!
Another (3rd) way I will share with you on how to avoid spending is to write down the pros and cons on the purchase you may be contemplating. For example, I’m thinking about buying a new couch set because my existing one has a tear in it and the leather is falling apart. Fortunately, it is black leather and I used some black electrical tape to temporarily fix the tear and on top of that (literally) put a throw cover on. But when I sat down to write the pros and cons, it went down like this:
|Pros with good points||Cons with bad points|
|New sofa set with no imperfections – 7||Spend between $800-$1500 – 10|
|Existing sofa set works fine/not broken – 6||More credit card debt if I don’t pay cash – 7|
|Can save/invest/pay existing debt with money I don’t use buying a new sofa – 8||Need to be more careful when I use it since it’s new – 7|
|Total 19||Total 21|
In terms of quantity the pros and cons balanced out, but some of them I feel like carry more weight, like the con of spending probably over $1,000. So you can assign a weight or points to each pro and con and then tally them up. In my system high pro numbers mean you’ll be happy and high con numbers mean you’ll regret it. Add up the points from each column and if the Pros win, buy it, if the Cons with, then don’t! It can be good to get a second opinion too from a friend or family member or they can help with this exercise.