What would you do with a little extra cash in your pocket? Hint: the correct answers are “pay down debts” or “stash it in my retirement fund”. Don’t we all have enough “stuff”? And yet, many of us are still combating a chronic, compulsive spending habit.
It’s okay. We all have our vices, and everyone deserves to enjoy the fruits of their labor sometimes. However, if your spending is getting you into deeper and deeper debt, or if you’re not saving adequately for retirement, it’s time to use some of these methods to combat your habit.
Sleep on it. When you spot something nifty and feel like you just have to have it, make yourself wait one week.
Research your wish list. While you’re taking that week to consider an impulse, read online reviews for the item. Often we can prevent buyer’s remorse by doing a little research first.
Make a list and stick to it. Keep a list for grocery and household items that are actually needed, and promise yourself that you won’t deviate from it. If it’s not on the list, you don’t need it!
Leave credit cards at home. Take enough cash to cover the items on your list. If your cards are at home, it will be impossible to over-spend.
Avoid shopping at the wrong times. Most of us make poor decisions when we’re stressed, so avoid shopping during crowded times or when you’re hungry or tired.
Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale. If your usual shampoo is half price, then sure, stock up. You won’t use it at a faster rate just because it was on sale. But half-priced chocolate is another story! You aren’t saving money if you didn’t need the item in the first place, or if you will just use it twice as fast.
Investigate return policies. Don’t buy anything that can’t be returned, in the event that the purchase is unsatisfactory.
Don’t shop for entertainment. Some people simply love shopping. But ask yourself if entertainment is really worth 100 dollars per hour (or whatever you spend, on average)? Probably not! It would be cheaper to go see a movie – or better yet, stay at home and stream a movie for 2.99 on Amazon.
Save up for special treats. There’s no need to completely deprive yourself. After retirement savings, a mortgage payment, paying down debts or paying bills, you can make fun purchases a priority. Set aside a little cash from each paycheck, to be your “fun money”.
Create a long-term vision. It’s easier to curb spending and save for the future, when you know why you’re doing it. Call us to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help you to identify your retirement goals. Then you’ll feel much more motivated to make your own future a top priority.