Financial problems cause emotional suffering and lots of turmoil in your life. When you have a spending habit that is out of control, it can cause anxiety, depression, and even relationship issues. Impulse spending is the worst type because it’s as powerful a drug and just as addictive.
You may become a serial shopper or someone who shops to fill that void in your life. This type of impulse spending happens more than you think. Do you find that you are wasteful with money? Think of all the savings you could have right now if you just started conserving when you were younger?
Even if your bank account has more zeros than the national deficit, there’s no time like the present to make some changes. If your mindset is “Carpe Diem,” and you have no thought for tomorrow, then it’s time to alter your thinking.
Here are ten easy ways to stop your impulse spending and stash cash into a savings account.
1. Return Products You Might Have Sitting Around (Don’t Live with Your Buyer’s Remorse)
Most people have things sitting around their homes that they have every intention of returning, but they never make it to the store. It could be things that you order from a catalog, which are inconvenient to return.
The sad fact is that you probably have a lot of money sitting around in those returns, and you could put that cash into a savings account. If you waited so long that you are past the return period, no worry. Post your unused items on a local Facebook yardsale page, sell it on eBay, or host a tag sale.
So, reject your buyer’s remorse–return those items and stash that cash for a rainy day.
2. Wait 24 Hours Before You Make Purchases
How many times have you bought something on an impulse, and it sits at your home unused? What about those designer boots you had to have but live in a tropical climate? Sure, you had the best of intentions, but you didn’t give much thought to your purchase.
If you feel that you need those new shoes, a purse, or a wallet, you should think about all your purchases before you spend the money. The chances are if you go home and think about it for 24 hours, you will change your mind.
Think and rethink each purchase, and you will see a big difference in your checking account. Buying on impulse is a dangerous habit.
3. Seek Counseling
Do you know there are support groups and counseling specifically for those who have impulse spending problems? Spending money can be addictive, so you may need a therapist to help you make better choices regarding your money.
If you cannot find local support groups, then you can find some online help. Many times, there is an underlying mental health issue like anxiety or depression that can fuel the fires of impulse spending.
4. Start Eating and Drinking at Home
One of the biggest money wasters is eating out. Do you grab a gourmet coffee on the way to work each day? If you spend $5 for a large frosted cappuccino, and you did that for five days a week, you would spend approximately $1,300.
Now, think of all the things that you could do with an extra $1,300 each year? If you got a coffee maker at home, then you could make coffee and save. Coffee savings is just the tip of the iceberg; think of all the other ways you can conserve.
Stop giving your money to fast food establishments. You pay $2.49 for a soda at a drive-through, but you can get a whole 24 pack for less than $8.00. Do the math, and you will see how much you waste by eating and drinking out.
5. Set a Household Budget and Stick with It
Do you have a household budget? Did you know that more than 33 percent of the population doesn’t maintain a budget? Budgeting is important because it’s like a financial roadmap from where you are today and where you want to be in the upcoming months.
So, the best thing that you can do is to plan for tomorrow. If you want to buy a new home or a car, you must start setting money aside. It’s better than waiting until the time comes and having no money to put down. Sadly, you will get higher payment amounts because of the lack of cash.
6. Start a Savings Account and Make Automatic Deposits
Do you have a savings account? Did you know that the average person only has about $4,000 in their savings? While that may seem like a nice chunk of change, it’s barely enough to survive one month without income.
If something should happen that you lose your job, have a major medical setback, or have other financial hardships, small savings like that could be depleted overnight. Try having money taken out of your check and put into a savings or money market account.
Even better, why not start a 401K where your money is waiting for you when you retire, and you can always borrow from these funds if you need it.
7. Do The Envelope Method
Most people don’t like to use cash these days, and with safety concerns, it’s not advisable. However, for those who have impulse spending issues, a credit card is deceptive. Many people spend cash more frivolously because they can’t tangibly see it.
The envelope method is an old trick where you put so much cash that you allow yourself to spend in each envelope. Once the money is gone, you can’t spend anymore. Some people prefer money because they feel they can keep a better handle on their finances with it.
You can also do this method electronically if you have a bank or accounting program that tracks your spending and separates it into categories.
8. Talk to a Financial Advisor
A financial advisor can look at your income and tell you the best ways to make your money work. They will look at your current standing and how your retirement will be if you don’t change your ways. With the instability in the Social Security system, it’s not safe to take bets on this program for retirement.
It usually doesn’t cost anything for an evaluation. When you learn how to invest your money correctly, it can net you some serious change.
9. Make a Menu and Meal Plan
One of the greatest expenses you will face each month outside of your mortgage is your grocery bill. Did you know that the average family of four spends over $1,287 each month in groceries? Thankfully, you can reduce that bill by a few hundred dollars by learning how to meal plan.
Remember the old Adam Sandler song, “Lunch Lady?” The song states that yesterday’s meatloaf is today’s sloppy joe. You need to develop that mindset and repurpose leftovers. Do you think these restaurants that you patronize don’t recycle?
Take, for instance, the legendary chain you love called Wendy’s. Their famous chili is made from the hamburger leftover from the day before. If you’re shocked, you shouldn’t be as all eateries do things like this to save.
Those hamburgers sit in the warming drawer for a certain amount of time. When the time limit expires, they move them to a container to save in their walk-in cooler. The next day, they use them to make their soup.
It’s a considerable saving to them because they would throw away all that meat if they didn’t have such a plan. Now, you need to implement the same kind of philosophy.
You can take leftover hamburgers and turn them into a soup, tacos, or delicious shepherd’s pie. Just think of all the food that goes to waste that you could repurpose.
10. Learn How to Effectively Grocery Shop
If you run into the grocery store when you’re hungry and shop for the things you need for the day, you will probably do some impulse spending. Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to go to the supermarket? Here are some tips that you should follow.
•Never shop when you are hungry
•Make a list and stick to it
•Shop early morning for discount prices and markdown deals
•Use the sales flyer to plan your meals
•Sign up with a service that will pay you money for trying products you use
•Do not go to the store every day or every couple of days
•Make one big trip a week and don’t keep going back
•Have a dedicated shopping day
•Buy in bulk and divide and conquer your budget
The list seems to be overwhelming, but it’s not that bad once you get the hang of it. Smart shopping can save you hundreds each month and thousands on the year.
Final Thoughts on Knowing When It Is Time to Stop the Impulse Spending
It’s important to stash money into savings for a rainy day. Those rainy days happen to everyone, whether you’re prepared for them or not. Thankfully, even if you only have a dime in your account, you can change that quickly.
It doesn’t have to be big and significant changes, just start small and start building. You will be so glad that you stopped the impulse spending once you have a nice nest egg built for your family. Who doesn’t want to stash money into savings?