We often hear people talk about a need versus a want and the impulse to spend? However for the average impulse spender, this may sound like a foreign idea. If we want it, we need it, right? Impulse buys are one major way to throw off your budget. Nonetheless, being able to have impulse control over spending could really save you money.
You may be asking, why would I want to do this? I like shopping! I love treating myself and I love the thrill of spending!
Yet, do you ever have that feeling of emptiness after you bought an expensive item you didn’t need? Have you ever bought something to make yourself feel better? Well this post is for you (and let’s face it 90% of us have-including myself!) Retail therapy used to be my stressor’s best friend.
So what is a need?
There are the basics. For example, we need food, water, clothing and shelter. Additionally, paying your mortgage/rent and utilities are big needs. If you have children you will need diapers and baby food. Additionally, we all have transportation costs. In fact, needs vary from person to person. Therefore, prioritize what you really need. Then if you have money left, buy your want! (That’s after saving too.)
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So what is a want?
A want is that awesome purse you can’t afford but still want it, although you have ten purses in your closet. Not to mention, the expensive brand of salon shampoo you want to try, although your regular brand is on sale. Maybe you want the latest gadget, although you current gadget is working just fine. It is human nature to want things from time to time.
There are people who save every penny but make a huge impulse buy a few times a year. Then there are those of us that go to the store to buy groceries and come home with ten little items that were not on our list. Either way, the impulse buy bogs down our budget, like and anchor going overboard.
Getting Rid of Debt.
I have to admit, I had debt at one time. Fortunately, my husband and I are now debt free besides our house payment. Yet, my debt didn’t come from impulse buys. It came from one main thing: college tuition.
I had student loans from my undergraduate degree and before I paid it off, I put some of my Masters tuition on a credit card. Although it was tempting to splurge on every impulse buy I desired, I would not have been able to pay this debt off. Instead I devised a plan to pay down debt and live within my means. I used this to pay off both debts and later my car!! (Check out the example in my Epic Goal Setting Post)
Was I at times envious of friends that were able to buy anything they wanted? Yes, of course.
However, I shopped around for good deals on things like food, clothes and accessories, so I did not feel totally deprived while paying off debt.
Was it a sacrifice? Yes!! I had a full-time teaching job. I was making the most I had ever made in my life…Not that teachers earn that much, especially in the beginning & they deserve so much more! Yet, this was my first salary job, and I felt like I had no money. It was not easy by any means, but worth it to pay off my debt.
How do I stop the buy?
Just ask yourself, before buying something… Do I really need this? Is this a timeless item, I’ll wear over and over, or will it sit in my closet and collect dust like the cowboy hat I wore in Vegas(true story). Below you will find a list to help you more! Check it out.
Tips for Stopping Yourself From an Impulse Buy
1. Wait a week and see if you still want the item.
2. If you are online, put your item in your basket & wait a few days to see if you still have the urge to buy (and then use Ebates).
3. Don’t go to the mall or stores (My weakness is Target! They have so many adorable items for your house, clothes, shoes, etc. So, I only go to the store bi-weekly to avoid spending more. This takes some careful planning but can be done.)
4. Click to shop. Many stores are offering click to shop grocery buying. You sign up and do your grocery shopping online. Although this charges a fee, most people save money in the long run because they are not making the impulse buys they would if they were in the store. Also, if you use “meal planning” and write out your grocery list, you will not have to run back to the store in the middle of the week.
More Tips to help you save:
5. Stop comparing yourself to others. Other people may have more, but they also have more debt that you don’t know about or more money than you. Nonetheless, you are good enough, no matter how much stuff you own!
6. Pay cash!! Credit cards give a mindset that you can spend more. When using a credit card, most of us pay less attention to what is going in the cart.
7. Write down your spending. Knowing how much you have spent helps you decide if you can buy something extra.
8. Set a budget for yourself before you go shopping or go out to eat and stick to it.
9. Use the cash envelope system to avoid spending more
10. Stop watching television and/or reading fashion magazines.. Seriously, there is a psychology behind marketing. They are selling a lifestyle and making you think you need the items. One idea is to get up and clean or exercise during commercials.
11. Don’t go to the store when you are hungry. People tend to overspend on food when they are hungry.
12. Don’t go shopping with little kids – five and under. If you can do your shopping when your spouse is home with the kids, you will be less likely to make impulse buys when the kids throw a tantrum. (I always spend more when my kids are with me.)
13. Add up items when you put them in your cart. This is really helpful in sticking to a budget. You know exactly how much your basket will cost at the register. No surprises!
I’ve learned a few lessons after selling around 60 items in my closet on Poshmark. I was keeping these things after having baby number two. The biggest lesson was, I didn’t miss a single thing I sold. Something kept me holding on to my items for years. Nonetheless, letting go of them actually made me happier! My closet was less cluttered and I could find the items I actually wear.
So as you are thinking about this need vs. want thing, I’m going to ask you to dig down deep. Let’s all ask ourselves, what do we really need?
I’m not saying to get rid of all your stuff!! Although I’m frugal, I still like stuff too, just frugal, thrifty stuff!! Or stuff with value! I don’t mind spending the money on something of quality that will last for years and years. Consider what you buy and how much you owe before making a purchase in the want category.
Impulse buys are fun at times. However, try setting a small “want” amount in your budget. I don’t mean go crazy and blow your budget, but do buy yourself that new $5 lotion you wanted from time to time. Don’t totally deprive yourself and shop sales! Follow my tips and you will soon be on your way to a debt free life! It feels great! I know, I’m living it! My next goal is financial freedom! I hope you can make it there too! Until next time my friends!
What was your worst impulse buy? Do you have any ideas on how to stop impulse buys? If so, leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you!
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