It’s always comforting to have some money saved away for a rainy day or an impromptu holiday, and extra funds left over after settling bills each month to treat yourself to something special. Saving money isn’t always easy – especially if you are prone to impulsive buying – but there are several ways to control your spending, and to save money effectively and quickly. Get started with some of the useful tips below!
Controlling impulsive buying
Impulsive buying (often referred to as “retail therapy”) is a coping mechanism similar to binge eating, alcohol abuse, and other excessive compensatory behaviours that we turn to when stressed or upset. It functions as a quick fix for unpleasant emotions, which makes it a very addictive activity that has the power to boost one’s mood almost instantly. However, the things that one buys impulsively are often expensive and impractical, and regular purchases can land you in debt. So, how can you manage an impulsive buying habit?
- Try to avoid unnecessary online purchases
Online shopping is incredibly tempting, as it’s all too easy to click away and make purchases without even a second thought. Try to avoid online shopping, and unsubscribe from all newsletters that might trigger a buying spree (e.g., advertisements for sales, or special offers).
- Put limits on your credit cards
One way to avoid getting into debt from impulsive buying is by limiting your credit card limits. You can’t waste money if it isn’t available to waste! You can always change the limit later once you have better control over your spending.
- Focus on yourself
There are often psychological reasons for impulsive and excessive buying, so it is very important that you take some time to find the true root of the problem. Are you unhappy, or unfulfilled? Do you feel a sense of control that does not exist in your daily life when you spend money? If necessary, seek professional help to deal with any difficult emotions that you may uncover. Similarly, when you feel the urge to go out and buy a lot of things to “feel better”, try doing something else first to lift your mood. Listen to your favourite song, go for a walk outside, or call a friend. This way you can break the cycle of feeling bad, and compensating with material purchases.
Having a basic budget can make a big difference to your spending habits. Often we have no clue how and where we spend our money, and we are not aware of our spending patterns. Start by recording all your purchases in one month, and work out where your money is being spent. Then, for the next month, set flexible limits for what you will spend your money on (e.g., rent, food, clothing, toiletries, luxury products, etc). Over time, you will find a budget that suits your earnings and your spending habits.
In general, it is a good practice to save 10% of your earnings each month. You can add more if you can afford it, and gradually your savings will grow. Once you have good saving habits in place, you can enjoy financial security and freedom from debt.