There probably is no one that has not bought something on an impulse. Our economy, frankly, seems to thrive on that. And sometimes an impulsive treat isn’t the worst thing in the world. But most of the time it results in feeling worse afterwards, draining finances and it can affect relationships.
What is impulsive spending? It can run from occasional unplanned purchases and a desire for instant gratification to buying to fulfill deeper psychological needs and not being able to stop oneself. It can become compulsive behavior. How do you know when it is a problem?
• Your spending is causing debt to build up
• Overspending is taking away the ability to cover your immediate and longer term needs.
• You hide your spending from family members
• You don’t even want to know how much you are spending on “stuff”.
• You shop when your are depressed, lonely or angry to make yourself feel better
• The thought of not shopping, whether at stores or on-line, and also not having credit cards with you causes much uneasiness or even fright.
• You find yourself fighting with others regarding your spending habits.
Here are some things that can help stop the impulsive spending:
• The very first step is realizing it is a problem and committing to change. Think of the positives that can result in your relationships and finances.
• Commit to avoiding the mall or on-line shopping sites. Find alternative low or no cost activities to occupy your time.
• Make a list when you are shopping and commit to following it.
• Don’t carry credit cards. Freeze them in a block of ice if necessary so you will have to take time to think about using them.
• Don’t shop when upset or depressed.
• Give yourself time limits. Whether 2 hours or 30 days, waiting to make any purchase gives you more time to rationally consider it.
• Have a talk with yourself before any purchase. Is it a want or a need? Even if it is a need, do you really love it? Hold out for the right purchase at the right price at the right time.
• Don’t shop with people who like to spend or who like to convince you to spend. You don’t need that influence when trying to keep spending under control.
• We can rationalize anything and convince ourselves something is really what we need. Deep down, we often know when we are doing that. The more we have to talk ourselves or someone else into it, the less likely it really is what we need to be buying.
If the impulsive spending becomes a compulsion and you can’t seem to stop yourself, professional help may be required to deal with it. Conquering it on your own can be very difficult.
You may have noticed, the word commitment was often used. Having specific goals and commitment to them can truly help curb the spending that stops you from achieving those goals. You are in control of your life instead of the impulsive behavior controlling you.