Posted by Tim Stobbs on August 5, 2009
It’s the destroyer of budgets, killer of savings and bane of those trying to crawl out of debt: the impluse buy. It’s so innocent that you often don’t realize you did it at first. You walk past the chocolate bar display and pick one up. Then you stop in the next display and go “I could use that” and before you know it you have a $40 bill at the till when all you needed was $4 of milk.
The problem with trying to control your impluse buying is it just keeps coming back. You just get the thing under control and suddenly you are back doing it again. I’m fairly good at controling the bigger purchases by waiting and making sure I need something before I buy it. It’s the little things that end up consuming my spending cash that I still struggle with now and again.
In my case I tend to buy because I want a quick pick me up. It’s not even like I’m sad or anything. Often I’m just a littled tired or stressed and I end up buying something. In reality I don’t need the item in question at all, but at that moment in time I do want it. Some days I win and keep walking past and other times I lose and buy it.
I’ve yet to figure out a way to control the little spending other than having a short term goal to have something else I want to spend my money on more. Often its a movie I want to see in the cheap theatures or a new DVD that I use as a short term goal. That way I can ask myself, do I want the little impluse item or the thing I really want. I’ve yet to take this concept and exapand it to my retirement savings. Something in my head resists savings for that long of a period for a reward despite the fact it sort of makes sense.
So how do you control that little spending on impulse items? If you got an idea I would love to hear it.