Here’s the scenario. You’re at the mall, just browsing. You see a fantastic pair of red heels. They’d look fabulous with the new dress you bought last week. Nevermind that you already have a pair of shoes to go with that dress. Your mind is crying out at you to buy the shoes. You’ve always wanted red heels…
What do you do?
Maybe you’re not a red heels kind of person. Maybe your thing is books (that’s mine), music, DVDs. It doesn’t matter. The temptation to spend impulsively is all around us. But if you’re serious about saving money and living more frugally, you need to learn to curb the impulsive spending.
1. Apply the 7 day wait rule. When you come across something you want to buy, write it down. Put the note in a safe place and wait 7 days. If you still want the item after a week, go ahead and buy it. Most of the time, the desire to buy will pass, and you will find a way to live without it.
2. Stay out of the stores. Don’t browse. I avoid bookstores at all costs, because books are my weak spot. I love the smell of new books. I love the information inside. I have a hard time walking out of a bookstore without a new book. So I don’t go. I hit the library instead.
3. Make a list and stick to it. Do you absolutely have to go to the mall? Then write down exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re there to find jeans and a sweater, write it down. Make a firm rule to stick to your list. That way when you see those red heels, you can look at your list and be reminded that you’re not buying shoes today.
4. Reward yourself for not spending. When you’re standing in front of the red heels, take a look at how much they cost. Walk away, go directly to your bank, and transfer that dollar amount into a special reward savings account. Seeing how quickly that money adds up can be the best deterrent against overspending. Save for a goal: a fully funded emergency fund, a vacation, whatever you like. You’ll be happy when you get there.
How do you curb the desire to overspend?
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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