Curb your enthusiasm: how to create better spending habits
It can be so easy to impulse buy when we see a deal, especially online, overindulge in “therapy shopping” when we’re feeling sad or stressed; or waste money on things we don’t truly need. We’re all guilty of doing it every now and then. But if you feel you do it a little more often than you can really afford to, we have some tips to help you break the cycle and create better spending habits.
The very first step you need to take is to figure out your family’s budget. You may think a budget is nothing more than a restrictive tool that will cramp your lifestyle and prevent you from having fun, but in fact a budget ensures that you’re spending wisely, and always with your financial goals in mind. There’s room to add “fun” into a budget, and our 7 easy steps to help you build a household budget demonstrates how to do that.
After you figure out what you actually have to spend each month, check out these tips from Every Dollar to help you curb your impulse buying and therapy shopping for good!
- Practice gratitude. Every single morning write down one thing you have that you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s a car that runs, food in your fridge, or that pair of pants that makes you feel so confident. Seeing that growing list of things you already own can make you aware of how fortunate you really are, and more mindful the next time you see something you think you need. Gratitude lists help us determine the difference between wants and needs.
- Research. Always comparison shop and look at reviews before you buy anything—even something small. Not only will stepping away from the cash register or “buy” button for a while give you time to think about how much you truly need the item in question, but it will also ensure that if the answer is yes, you’ll get the best deal and the best quality item.
- Put your phone away. If you’re waiting in the doctor’s office or in a pick-up line at school, read a book or a magazine instead of browsing on your phone. It can be way too tempting to online shop, especially if you’re feeling frazzled or stressed, so remove the temptation by keeping your phone in your pocket.
- Give yourself a break. If you see something you really want, pause. Wait at least 24 hours (and re-read your gratitude list in the meantime), then reconsider your purchase. Odds are the excitement of the purchase will have faded a bit and you’ll be able to make a more rational buying decision.
- Avoid temptation. If you know you won’t be able to resist that hand-dyed yarn or those cute new shoes you don’t really need, don’t go to the stores or online shops that sell them. And if you have a friend or family member who regularly urges you to splurge, either don’t go shopping with them or ask them to respect your need to keep your spending under control.
- Save room for fun. As we said, there is always room for fun in a budget! Make sure to set aside an amount that allows you to enjoy something you love each month. Maybe it’s a nice dinner out, tickets to a show, or a frivolous piece of clothing. Whatever the case, rewarding yourself for your good spending habits is great motivation to help you stick to your budget.
Impulse buys may feel good in the moment, but they’re just not worth the lingering regret, especially when they add up and derail your long-term financial plans. Sticking to a budget that has some fun built into it means you can enjoy spending responsibly knowing you’re always working towards your goals.
Remember, as a Foresters Member you have access to Everyday Money. This toll-free financial helpline connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting. Visit MyForesters.com to get access to the toll-free helpline for Everyday Money.
417741 CAN/US (09/19)