Impulse Spending – How to cut it down to size

Impulse spending is one of the most common snags when it comes to people’s budgets. Over 90% of folks admitted to impulse spending in a recent survey. It adds 20% to the average grocery bill. If your spending is average, you will spend over $100,000 on impulse buys.

The worst part is that we rarely get the satisfaction we crave out of these impulse purchases. Electronics break or become obsolete. Clothes bought on impulse hang in our closets unworn.

So, how do you keep impulse spending from undoing all of your financial progress? Make yourself play a waiting game. Decide that, before you buy, you need to wait a set period of time. For small purchases, make your craving time a couple of days. Medium ones, in the $40 to $50 range, a few weeks. Anything over $100, make yourself wait a month or more. A few benefits of the waiting game:

  • The pleasure of anticipation. Often, we enjoy looking forward to a purchase as much as we enjoy the new toy.
  • A chance to comparison shop. If you spend a month scouting out a new sewing machine or power tool, you’ll get a better idea of what options are available and what price point is a good deal.
  • Lower spending. In a lot of cases, you’ll simply forget about your desire before you ever get around to buying.