If you can't resist fashion, jewelry, electronics or household goods, you might have a slight shopping problem. As a result, you might buy stuff you don't need (or even like), just because it's on sale. This can be problematic. You might spend money you can't afford, which makes it difficult to pay bills.
It's a hard habit to break, but there are ways to talk yourself out of buying something you do not need or like.
1. How Long do You Have to Work to Pay for the Item?
For every item you purchase, you have to work a certain number of hours to pay for it. For example, if you're splurging on a $100 handbag, and you earn $25 an hour, it takes four hours to pay for this bag. Thinking about purchases in these terms can help you resist impulse buys.
2. Make Yourself Wait at Least 24 Hours
If you're browsing the mall and you see an item on sale, don't immediately purchase it. Leave the store and give yourself 24 hours. You may discover that once the item is out of sight, the urge to purchase it disappears. If you're still thinking about the item a day later, consider whether now's the right time to make the purchase, and whether you can afford it.
3. Think about Your Financial Goals
Impulse buys can delay financial goals, such as saving up to buy a house or paying off debt. Write down your financial goals on a Post-It or index card, and keep these goals tucked inside your wallet. Anytime you feel the urge to spend unnecessarily, pull out this paper and review your goals. Keeping your eyes and mind focused on your financial goals can help you resist the urge to spend money.
4. Remind Yourself That Purchases Add to Your Debt
If you're actively paying off credit card debt, remind yourself that using a credit card slows your progress. Think about how much interest you've paid over the course of several months or years. Also, think about the positive effects of paying off credit card debt, such as cheaper monthly expenses and a higher credit score. Then ask yourself, is this purchase worth delaying my progress?
5. Take a Quick Mental Inventory
Before buying something you don't need, take a quick mental inventory. Think of items you already have in your drawer or closet, and you may realize you already own something similar. In which case, it doesn't make sense to purchase the item.
6. Remind Yourself That the Item Will Go on Sale
If you find something you want to buy, but it's full price, keep in mind that retailers have sales and discounts throughout the year. If you wait just a few weeks or months, you might find the item cheaper. And if you shop around, another retailer might have the same item for less.
7. Tell Yourself You Don't Need the Item
Sometimes, we shop impulsively because of peer pressure. However, your friends aren't paying your credit card bills. You have to take control of your own finances. Repeatedly tell yourself you don't need something and you're less likely to make the purchase. Even if you buy something you don't need, don't be ashame to return the item if you have buyer's remorse.
Learning how to identify items you don't need or even like saves money and improves your financial state. What are other ways to talk yourself out of buying something?