Impulse Buying: 5 FUN Ways You Can Avoid Spontaneous Spending

Published on April 11, 2017 by Lauren

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  • You may have read my article revealing I am a Recovering Spender. I know I am not alone. There are countless recovering spenders out there that struggle with impulse buying. I’ve even been known to spend too much from time to time.

    Let’s face it: spending is fun.

    And sometimes, it can be even more fun to make spontaneous purchases. So how do you take something fun (and gratifying), turn around, not do it, and still have fun? Well, there are a few ways.

    Pick one of these fun ways to avoid spontaneous spending and you’ll keep more money in your wallet. Let’s begin!

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    Impulse Buying: 5 FUN Ways You Can Avoid Spontaneous Spending

    1. Flip a coin.

    Coins were probably flipped to make decisions as long as they’ve been around. Why not flip a coin to decide if you should make that spontaneous purchase?

    If you’re already using a cash budget, you probably have a lot of coins in your envelopes, bags, purse, or wallet.

    Here are a few rules that you should apply when using this method:

    • Don’t use this method for the essentials – your family needs to eat. Remember to only flip a coin when it’s a spontaneous purchase, not a planned necessity.
    • Stick to the decision of the flip – heads is buy, tails is don’t buy. Don’t change the rules just because you want to buy and need an excuse. And don’t flip the coin again, unless it miraculously lands in a vertical position.

    Don’t have a coin handy? If you have an iPhone, you can ask Siri to flip a coin. She’ll be glad to do it for you.

    2. Stay home play a few board games.

    I don’t know why, but some families go to the mall just for fun. Please, don’t do this.

    When you go out just for the sake of looking around, trust me, you’re likely to find something you spontaneously “need” when it’s really not a need at all. If you’re really just going to “look around” leave your wallet at home :).

    Instead, why not stay home with your spouse and kids to play a few board games? Besides, they’re probably collecting dust anyway. Make use of some classics like chess or Monopoly and have some good old-fashioned fun.

    If your idea of a good time is shopping, it’s time to change that to having more family time. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a little family-friendly competition!

    3. Reward yourself for sticking to the list.

    If you love meal planning like we do, then you probably have a shopping list when you go to the grocery store. If you don’t have a shopping list, now’s a great time to start one.

    Shopping lists, however, are not that fun when you see that nice bag of Doritos staring you in the face. So how do you have fun with shopping lists? Add a fun treat to the end of the list if you stick to it – maybe that bag of Doritos.

    Whether you’d like a chocolate bar, peanut butter ice cream, or another treat, feel free to put it at the end of your shopping list before you go to the grocery store with the intention of enjoying it only if you don’t deviate from your list.

    This tip can help you avoid spontaneous spending only if you play by the rules. Don’t make exceptions!

    4. Start a countdown timer.

    Another great way to avoid spontaneous splurges is to put time on your side. How? Start a countdown timer. Here’s how it works . . . .

    You’re walking past the potato chips. A bag of crispy, cheesy Doritos catches your eye. Lightning-quick, you pull out your smartphone and start a countdown timer: 24 hours.

    Another example?

    You’re surfing online. You see a book about numbers and spreadsheets you’d love to read at your leisure (I’m a dork. I know). You move your cursor to click the buy button. Wait! You stop yourself and start a countdown timer: 24 hours.

    Here’s the rule: You can’t buy the item until the countdown timer goes off. If you still want the item when the timer goes off, you can buy it.

    Obviously, this means that if you were out and about shopping, you’re going to have to make another trip. You might not even want to go get it! If so, you’ve conquered spontaneous spending. Even if you want to get the item, at least it won’t be spontaneous.

    5. Teach your children self-control.

    Have you ever caught yourself teaching your children a lesson and instantly realizing that you could use some of your own advice? If you’re a parent, your kids interpret your actions and not just your words.

    If so, you’re a parent. It’s normal! There are many times when, because I want to teach my children a valuable lesson, I end up benefiting from it as well.

    Teach your children some self-control when it comes to spending, and you’ll find yourself with a greater degree of self-control, too.

    However, make sure to have a bit of fun with it! Explain how having self-control now can improve their lives later. Make it exciting – because it is. Maybe show them about the value of saving.

    Lauren and I want you to spend with intention and wisdom. Coupled with some great frugal ideas from my blog, you’ll be on your way to avoiding many of those spontaneous purchases.

    Have fun!

    What are some ways you avoid impulse buying and unplanned spending?


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