Everyone has spending triggers, even if you don’t know exactly what they are. A spending trigger is something that causes you to make a purchase even if you don’t particularly need that item at the time.
A classic example of a spending trigger is going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Since you are hungry, everything will look delicious and you will probably buy far more food than you really need.
Of course, this theory applies to many more scenarios than just the grocery store. Consider the following five tips as ways to kill your spending triggers.
#1 – Always Sleep on It
Set a spending limit for yourself, and commit to always sleeping on purchases that run over that total. So, for example, your limit could be $100. That would mean that any time you are thinking about buying something that costs more than $100, you would require yourself to sleep on the decision and make the purchase another day – if at all.
#2 – Don’t Buy Out of Stress
One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to maintain a budget is to make purchases when they are stressed or frustrated. This is often called ‘retail therapy’ – but it usually just ends up being a waste of money. All of your buying decisions should be rooted in need, not emotion, so avoid making a purchase just because you feel like buying something.
#3 – Avoid Certain Stores
Many people have one specific store that they just can’t resist for some reason. The best way to limit the damage from this kind of temptation is to simply avoid that store altogether. When you never set foot inside their doors, you can’t allow yourself to be tempted by whatever it is that is waiting on the shelves.
#4 – You Don’t Have to Be First
Another common trigger occurs when a new product is released onto the market and you decide that you have to have one before any of your friends do. This is especially common with electronics like smartphones.
Before you get caught up in the momentum of the moment and waste money you don’t need to spend, slow down and think about what the product will actually do for you. Unless it really is going to make life better or help you in some tangible way, you don’t need to rush out and buy it.
#5 – Look Around the House
It can be tempting to simply run up to the store anytime you need something and you can’t find it right away around the house. However, take a longer look before you make a purchase to be sure that there isn’t something already in your possession that could do the job.
Many people end up with houses cluttered full of items because they bought more of what they already had. Buying something you already own is the definition of wasting money, so exercise patience and make sure you actually need something before you go buy it.
What are your spending triggers? How do you actively avoid them? What do you think is one of the keys to avoiding overspending?
Photo courtesy of: 401kcalculator.org