Impulse spending can cause havoc to any well-developed budget. No matter how carefully you plan your budget, if you impulsively diverge from your spending plan, your budget will be worthless. Controlling impulse spending is imperative if you are going to live frugally.
Getting away from the impulses that urge you to make unplanned purchases is often an exercise in trial and error. The system that works for one person may not work for another. Fortunately, there are several different methods of curbing these impulses. Try one of these to see if they help you. (I didn’t mention freezing your money but hey if it works give it a shot!)
Stay away from your weak points that tempt you to make impulse purchases. If you are compelled by the attractive window displays at your local mall to buy the featured items, you can choose not to go into the mall. Likewise, if discount stores like Wal-mart and Target are your weakness, make a shopping list and send your spouse to the store.
Leave credit cards at home.
Credit cards make it easy to make purchases without worrying about the financial consequences of your purchase. You won’t feel the pinch of credit card purchases until the monthly statement arrives at your house. If credit cards are your Achilles’ heel when it comes to spending, leave them at home. When you plan to use your card, you can remove it from its hiding spot and return it after the purchase is complete.
Make it hard to make purchases.
Carrying only the money that you need each day will make it very difficult to make unplanned purchases. If you don’t have the means to buy anything, you simply can’t do it.
Get off the mailing lists.
Catalogs often inundate people with temptation to buy something. Maybe the catalog featuring clothes for next seasons is simply too good to pass up. Maybe the clearance items compel you to make a bargain purchase. As these catalogs appear in your mailbox, call the customer service number on the back and ask to be removed from the mailing list. Then, throw the catalog away before it can tempt you.
Dieters use motivational pictures all the time to help them work towards their goal. If cutting impulse spending out of your life is your goal, find something that inspires you and keep it in your wallet. Maybe your family is saving for a vacation to Disney World. If that’s the case, keep a picture of a Disney character with you. Then, every time you open your purse to buy something you’ll be reminded of your goal.