How to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys
Now that the majority of people have smartphones or tablets, you don’t even have to get out of bed to have to spend money. It means you still have to avoid the types of impulse purchases that have plagued would-be savers for years. An example, the candy bars at the checkout at the grocery store — and beware of the more modern spending temptations — like shopping apps, targeted advertisements on social media, and freemium games. However, even though impulse spending is effortless in the modern age, avoiding impulse spending can be just as effortless. Here are six ways to make you know how to prevent budget-busting impulse buys without ever breaking a sweat:
1. Remove your credit card information from online retailers:
Every online merchant offers the same helpful “service,” which is remembering your payment information so you don’t have to enter it every time you make a purchase. But that service is only helpful to the retailer since it makes it possible to buy something with a single click without giving the purchase a second thought.
It is a major bummer to have to get up and hunt down your wallet or purse to enter your credit card information. But that “major bummer” of having to get up is the time that the angel on your shoulder needs to remind you that you probably shouldn’t be spending any more money. And having time for such a mental reminder is a necessary part of keeping your spending in check. After all, retailers wouldn’t remember your information for you if it weren’t in their best interest.
2. Block internet access to your favorite retail sites:
I removed my credit card information from all of the usual retail shopping sites, but since I have my credit card number memorized, it did not slow down my impulse purchases a great deal. An easier way to keep me from surfing my favorite online retail sites is to install web-filtering software that blocks these websites automatically for me.
For instance, programs like Potent Web Filter PC completely block users from accessing entire genres of internet sites. You can pick what types of sites you want to block (such as shopping, games, social media, etc.), which you then password protect. Either let a friend choose your password to keep you from disabling the block, or choose a random string of letters and numbers for your password, and store the impossible-to-remember password someplace difficult to access. If you have to get a ladder to get the password down from the very top shelf of your guest room closet, you’re less likely to disable the block when you’re in the mood to shop.
3. Remove shopping apps from your phone:
You may love scrolling though you may love scrolling through the apps for your favorite retailers, but they are just another path to impulse spending. There is no reason for you to invite these temptations into your life!
4. Unsubscribe from shopping emails:
Along the same vein, it’s a lot harder to succumb to the temptation to shop if you aren’t reminded of the opportunity. Unsubscribe from any retailer emails you receive — or if going through the unsubscription process is too much of a hassle, then simply filter those emails to go straight into the trash. That way, you won’t see them before they get trashed.
5. Use gift cards for mobile purchases:
to protect yourself from wasting more money than you can afford on mobile device purchases, pick up a gift card to iTunes or Google Play each month. That works as a natural limit on how much you can spend on mobile purchases. Once you’ve reached your limit, you’ll just have to wait until the following month before you can start buying again.
6. Make it easy to get entertainment for free:
It’s very easy to spend more than I can afford on these books. That’s why I have my local library’s website bookmarked on my computer, and its app installed on my phone. When I learn of a book that I want to read, I immediately log onto the library and put a hold on the book. I feel the same sense of instant gratification I would experience by buying the book, without having to spend a penny.
There is something to the age-old advice about never going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. According to a 2007 study by Matthew T. Gallipot and Roy F. Laumeister, your ability to exert self-discipline depends partially on your blood glucose levels.
It is pretty obvious when you are hungry in the supermarket since you’re feeling tempted by the very thing you lack. However, the relationship between self-discipline and blood-glucose levels is also behind your struggle to avoid other types of temptations. It is because, according to the researchers, self-control requires a certain amount of glucose to operate unimpaired.
It means that an easy way to control your impulse spending is to have a piece of fruit or another complex carbohydrate when you feel tempted to buy something you do not need.
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