Do you ever find yourself shopping – either online or in actual shops – because you are bored? Do you impulse purchase, then regret it later? How can you stop spending unnecessarily?
When your budget is tight (and, let’s face it, many of us are feeling the pinch right now), it pays to be mindful and consider every purchase. Buying something you like the look of at the time, or over spending on groceries, can add to debt or ruin your savings plans.
Being aware of what your triggers are, be they boredom, feeling low, needing a lift, or feeling envious of somebody else’s possessions, can be a good starting point to help you stop spending.
I have also found the following tips personally helpful in sticking to my budget and avoiding unnecessary debt.
1# Cancel newsletters and catalogues
One of my big temptations in the past was having catalogues in the house. I would idly flick through whilst having a cup of tea and end up writing a list of things I wanted from them.
Now that so much shopping is done online, a bigger danger when you are trying to stop spending unnecessarily are the email newsletters from retailers that can crowd your inbox. It takes no time at all to impulse spend whilst sitting on your sofa perusing the internet.
Even though I try to remember to tick the boxes for no further communications, the odd one slips through. Discounts and special offers come pinging through almost every day! The best way to avoid this type of temptation is to unsubscribe straight away. Avoid temptation!
2# Don’t go window shopping
When I was a teenager I used to love window shopping and trying on clothes with my friends, even though I had no money to buy anything! Now, this is a disaster to my budget.
Window shopping for me inevitably leads to actual shopping. I even need to watch myself when I go in the charity shops or pound stores. Even cheap things soon add up if you aren’t careful.
3# Go out with a list, a purpose and a budget
Rather than shopping aimlessly, only go when you really need to make certain purchases. Go with a list and a sense of purpose. It also helps to set yourself a budget – take just cash if you can’t trust yourself with cards.
The times I have gone into Home Bargains or somewhere for a couple of items and come out having spent £50 on stuff I had no idea I needed…. well, we have all been there.
This applies to grocery shopping as well. Be organised. Plan the week’s meals, check what you already have and make a shopping list. Finally, don’t go out hungry as this inevitably leads to impulse purchases of junk food and chocolate.
4# You may want it, but do you need it?
Ask yourself if you really want and need each purchase you consider. What would happen if you didn’t buy it? Try to cultivate the habit of making yourself wait until the following day or two and then review.
If you are shopping online, make yourself leave things in your virtual basket for a set time. When your return, you may find that dress you were desperate for seems less necessary once your impulse has settled.
When you are trying to cut stop spending unnecessarily, it pays to develop the habit of waiting.
5# Shop from your cupboards
Being skint isn’t fun. If you have little spare cash, it can get you down when you can’t afford to buy the things you want. However, being in debt is even less fun.
A way I have found to keep my focus when I am trying to stop spending is to have a good clear out and declutter. When you have the impulse to go shopping, clearing out your cupboards instead can enable you to rediscover what you already own.
I love going through my wardrobe every few months and having a great wardrobe declutter. Even though I don’t own as many clothes as some people, I still forget what’s in there!
What are your top tips to stop spending unnecessarily?