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5 Ways to Kill Your Spending Triggers

6355231757_5862bcfa9d_zEveryone 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

 

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

8 comments

  1. I think the key to avoid overspending for me is to write it down. I like to track my spending and I like to shop with a list. Knowing that I track where my money goes and what shop I bought it from always gets me to stop over spending. Writing it down has also helps with reconciling what I spend every month on my credit card.

    • That’s a great way to go about it Sylvia! I like the visual reminder of what you have to work with as another way of seeing if you should/shouldn’t spend money.

  2. Procrastinating expending like for days or a week is what I do to see if a product I need is important. I practice all those 5 tips especially #4, which is related to procrastination.

  3. Having a new family (my daughter just turned 1 a few days ago) it seems that stress is our biggest spending trigger at the moment. We’re more tired than we used to be. Plus we don’t have as much time. So convenience seems to sometimes trump cost right now.

  4. Shopping when bored is a big one for many. I used to fall for this one. I would be bored so I would go to the mall to window shop. Next thing I knew, I was going in every store looking for similar shirts to a cool one I saw and bought in another store.

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