One of the more common questions I get is, "Brad, I need to control my spending. What can I do to stop my impulsive shopping habits?
First, you're in good company. I struggled with the same challenges. Seriously, at one time, I had almost $8,000 in credit card debt for a bunch of stuff I couldn't even remember. Well, except for that fantastic Beanie Baby collection, which was going to make our family a fortune!
Today, I don't have those troubles any more. As I started to work my way out of debt, I discovered a few secret ingredients to stop this type of wasteful spending, and today I want to share them with you.
Fair warning. These steps aren't going to produce instant results for you, but if you work on these steps in the coming weeks and months ahead, over time, you'll discover that your wasteful spending will decrease dramatically.
Make a Plan
Most people struggle with impulsive spending because they don't have a plan. They lack short-term and long-term goals. So what's that mean? Well, if you're not working towards anything, if you don't have something significant or meaningful that you want to achieve, it's easy to let your emotions win. It's easy to open your wallet and hand over that cash, or even worse yet, that credit card, and blow your money. So the first step is to establish some meaningful goals. That could be a savings goal, like an emergency fund. Maybe it's paying off a specific debt. It could be saving up for a purchase. Whatever it is, it's got to be meaningful and significant enough to say no to the dumb stuff that you want to buy.
Have a Budget
I get it, the word budget for most can bring a sense of anxiety, or even BORING! But I think most people have a budget all wrong. A budget has helped me save thousands of dollars. It's helped me buy some pretty cool stuff with cash. A budget has undoubtedly helped me wipe out all of the financial stress in my life. It helped me quit my JOB, and I now get to run my own business and help people like you! And last but not least, it helped me save tons of money by cutting out all the stupid and wasteful spending I was doing, and it will do the same for you!
Cut out the Distractions
Marketing is amazing. Think about this. We are hit with marketing messages all day and every day. And a lot of these marketing messages are trying to sell us stuff. So one easy and simple trick is to cut as much of that marketing as we can. Here are some ideas:
Now I am not saying you can't spend money. But when you're continually exposing yourself to these messages, you'll always be in a state of hyper-consumerism.
Consider the Opportunity Costs.
For every choice you make, there is a trade-off for it. When you buy something, you are giving up something else to have it. Ask yourself, "Does this purchase line up with my goals?" If it doesn't, it's much easier to say, "NO!" You see how having those goals comes into play now?
Wait! Give yourself 24 hours!
Most of the purchases we make are emotional. Think about this; if we were using math and logic, a lot of us wouldn't be in the financial position we find ourselves. Thinking back to those Beanie Babies my wife bought many years ago, she didn't do that out of logic. She did it out of emotion. She got sucked into that Beanie Baby hysteria along millions of other people, and now we're left with hundreds of worthless beanie filled plush dolls.
By removing yourself from that emotion, you will save yourself thousands and thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
If you want more tips on this 24-hour rule, I wrote and filmed an entire blog post and video on it, click here to check that out.
By implementing these steps, and with some practice, these five tips will help you take control of your spending and eliminate impulsive and wasteful spending habits.
Are you looking for help and answers to your financial challenges and you aren't sure where to begin? Look no further! Our FREE course is a great way to get started so you know what you should work on first in order to reach a stress-free financial life.