The first and most important step to getting your finances under control and saving money is to stop spending it. Sounds easy enough, right? Most of us know that “stop spending” is easier said than done. There’s temptation all around us – on the TV, on the Internet, in the mail, even from our friends and relatives who rushed out to buy the newest ‘whatever’ and brought it over to brag. You have to retrain your mind in order to avoid overspending and doing this entails culling your shopping habits to get rid of what’s been causing you to overspend in the past. Again, some of you may be thinking that this, too, is easier said than done, but with the right approach, even the most die hard impulse buyer can do it. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Seek Coupons and Deals For All Your Purchases
You should never been in such a hurry to buy something that you forget to take the time to check for coupons or to do comparison shopping. Most merchants always have some kind of sale going in, whether it’s a percentage off a total dollar amount or a discount on select models of a particular item. Aside from in-store promotions like those, many times you can find coupons for ebay shipping that aren’t otherwise advertised. Always try to make a good deal better by having a coupon for anything you’re in the market to buy. Besides saving more money, the other advantage to this strategy is that by the time you find a coupon for your item, you may be out of the notion of buying it at all. Impulse curbed!
Trade In Something You Already Own
Once you decide that you absolutely want or need an item, make it a stipulation that you must get rid of one (or two or three) item(s)that you already own before you can make the new purchase. If you have to trade something you already know you like for something you have no experience with, you may be less likely to make the purchase. If you still end up buying the item and getting rid of the old one(s) before, you can avoid some of the cluttering of your home with excess items that often results from impulse buying.
Hold Yourself Accountable For Your Impulses
Grab a notebook and make a list of everything you bought on an impulse within the last few months. Next to each item on the list, truthfully note whether you actually made use of the item, stored it away, wasted money on it or regret it. Seeing your past mistakes in black and white is often a good deterrent against repeating the same mistakes in the future.
By rewarding yourself, we don’t mean to go out and buy yourself something new. That would totally defeat the purpose of trying to teach you how to save money. Instead, tally up the dollar amount that you would have spent on that unnecessary item that you so valiantly fought the urge to buy and pay yourself that amount. You can put it into a savings account, toward a vacation or toward paying off the debts you incurred when you used to be an impulse buyer.