Ways to Stop with Impulse Purchases

Now that we’re into the new year and have probably already given up on any aggressive fitness goal for yourself, let’s focus on something you can control that will help your overall finances in the long run, which is curbing impulse spending.  While there are certainly purchases that are necessary to make in any given month, but there are also those that are just plain not needed.  By freeing up extra money you would normally be spending on impulse buys, you can put your hard-earned money to better use in the form of building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and even better, saving for retirement.

Start Tracking All Spending

If you were asked how much you spend in utilities, food, gas, or spending, would you be able to even guess?  While maybe you know what your electric or cable bills are, it may be tough to place a finger on spending money, let alone even how much you spent on food for gas.  A great way to start is to take last month’s debit or credit card statement and actually go line by line and see every dollar that went out.  From there you can add up what could have been avoided and what was actually needed, and see how much you could have leftover.

Use Cash Instead of Credit

Sure it will take a little work to make sure you keep cash on hand, and it may not be a sign of the times, but using cash instead of credit can be a great way of sticking to a budget and not going over, since you are only spending the cash that you have (provided you don’t continue to go to the ATM to get more).  When using a credit card there really is no stopping, unless you hit your limit of course, so cash could be a good option to save money going forward.

Shop with a List

Whether it’s a grocery list that you can make by taking a look in your refrigerator or pantry for the needed items before you head to the store, or even to the home improvement store, making a list is a great way to not only get only the items that you planned on getting in the first place and not winging it and loading the cart with extra items, but it’s also a great way to not forget any items that you went to the store in the first place for.

Avoid Online Shopping

It may sound a little odd to suggest putting a stop to online shopping as it’s the norm today, but if you notice how easy it is to make an online purchase, even making one click with the mouse, that you can find yourself having the delivery boxes pile up every week with some you need, and most you probably could have done without.  Using a credit card in person is already easy enough to make the purchase without thought, but online you can continue to buy without feeling the ramifications until you get the credit card statement in the mail.

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