Not sure where all your money has gone? Impulse buying can empty your wallet pretty fast and credit card debt can add up even faster. If you tend to spend first and ask questions later, here are some tips to get a handle on your budget.
Know your triggers. Become aware of when and why you are spending. Many people use shopping to fill an emotional void. They’re trying to escape uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, loneliness or boredom. Or, spending money makes them feel important. Letting your emotions dictate your purchases usually ends up being a bad decision. Most times, you’re left feeling empty no matter what you buy. Instead, notice the times when you feel the urge to spend and deal with those feelings in a healthy way.
Avoid temptation. If you are prone to overspending, stay away from window shopping, malls, catalogues, and watching QVC. You may say you’re “Just looking,” but that easily turns into a purchase. Develop other hobbies so you don’t need shopping to fill your time.
Don’t be a sucker. No matter how savvy you think you are, advertisers will suck you in anyway. Don’t be fooled by “good deals” and what others say you “need.” They are making money off of people just like you.
Take a break. If you think you’ve found a “must have” force yourself to take a break before buying. Rather than get caught up in the excitement, ask yourself if you really need the item or you just want the rush of spending money. If it’s really a good deal, it will still be available tomorrow or next week.
Establish a game plan. Write down your long-term goals. Would you feel better putting money away for a car, vacation, or paying down debt? Set up an automatic savings plan so you are putting away some money every month for a long-term goal. Before you go shopping, make a list of items you need versus want. If what you see is not on that list, don’t buy it