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Are You an Impulse Spender? Here Are 7 Ways You Can Control Your Spending!

If you're an impulse spender, you've probably run into trouble at the end of more than a few months when it comes to paying your bills, buying the food you need, etc.

But if you had stopped yourself from buying those products you admittedly didn't need at the time, you'd have that money to spend on what's really important.

So stop impulse spending! Check out these seven simple tips on how to avoid frivolous purchases altogether.

1. Respect Your Budget

One of the easiest ways to prevent yourself from impulse spending is to keep track of your monthly budget at all times. That means before you swipe your card or even open your wallet, you need to consult your budget to see exactly how much money you have to spend.

If you're fortunate enough to have disposable income that you can allocate toward extras each month, maybe you can afford that new pair of shoes. Otherwise, you need to very carefully prevent yourself from bankrupting yourself after your budget will no longer stretch thanks to an ill-timed impulse buy.

You should know where your money is going at all times. Budgeting doesn't mean eliminating fun purchases — it means planning for them. When you take the time to track every dime you spend, you can find the spaces in your budget to make non-impulse buys that mean something to you.

2. Take Your Time

One of the best ways to curb impulse spending is to take the time to consider the necessity of the purchase. Whether that means forcing yourself to physically leave the store and wait a few days before returning or simply closing the online shopping tab on your Internet browser until you have thoroughly thought it over, taking some time can change your perspective on the purchase completely.

You might even find yourself wondering what came over you and thank yourself for your wisdom in not going through with the purchase.

3. Don't Be Fooled by Sales

Sometimes, we're more willing to open our wallets and buy something we don't really need if it's on sale. Sales can be incredibly tempting. They create a sense of urgency and convenience, and you might find yourself thinking, "What a great deal... what if it goes back up in price? I need this now!"

But ignore the urge to make that snap purchase. You'll thank yourself when you have that money to spend on more important things later.

If you find the allure of a sale unavoidable, use these tips to keep your spending in check. Ask yourself: 

  • Is this something I really need? If you don't envision yourself using something regularly, it is not worth the purchase price, no matter how cheap it is.
  • Is this something I can find a better price on later? Most sales are not the last chance you will have to purchase something. Often stores run similar sales several times per year. 
  • Is this item worth blowing my budget? Often the answer is no. When you think of a deal in the context of spending your money vs. getting a bargain, you're less likely to want to buy. 

4. Only Pay With Cash

When you have the "convenience" of a credit card, you may be far more likely to make impulsive purchases. You don't even have to think about your dwindling supply of money -- after all, your future self can pay back what you owe! Current You gets to buy this cool gadget and use it immediately!

Don't put Future You in a bind. Instead, carry cash as often as possible and use it for all your purchases. The physical presence of your money will be a concrete reminder of your budget and will keep you from impulse spending.

5. Always Make a List

When you plan on going to any store, you should make a list beforehand to guide you to exactly what you came for. Otherwise, you might find yourself wandering the aisles tempted by the many other products on display.

Soon, you'll be leaving with a cart full of stuff you know you don't need purchased with money you didn't really have.

In other words, make a list, check it as many times as you feel necessary, and don't venture off into the realms of impulse spending! Lists work in reverse, too. You can stop impulsive spending at the grocery store by making a list of items to avoid, such as: 

  • Anything in the checkout aisle, such as magazines and candy
  • Toys in the baby food and diaper section
  • New products advertised on the ends of aisles

6. Set up an Account for Bills

If you worry you will continue to dip into your "survival" money to get your "fun" money, maybe you need to separate the two. You may find separate bank accounts provide the best answer when trying to decide how to control your spending. 

Set up a second checking account dedicated to just your bills. You can set up automated withdrawals for almost any bill. Deposit enough from your paycheck each month to cover your bills. Some bills, such as your water and electricity, fluctuate from month to month, so check the bill total each month to cover the expenses. 

The money in your other checking account then goes toward everyday expenses, such as groceries or gas. If you can't stop spending money, you should set limits on what can come out of the account. Perhaps you don't allow yourself to buy anything extra if the account balance dips below a certain number. 

7. Change the Way You Think

Instead of wondering how to stop spending so much money, start thinking about what you really want in life. Often thinking of things as a positive such as, "I want to save money to buy a new car!" instead of a negative such as, "I can't control my impulsive spending!" can help you feel more excited and motivated to make a change. Keep these tips in mind: 

  • Stop thinking of spending cutbacks as a punishment. Instead, consider them a lifestyle change. 
  • You will feel less deprived and resentful when you see yourself working toward something you want. 
  • Setting up positive reinforcements will make the journey more enjoyable. Find a non-financial way to celebrate reaching your savings goals, such as reading a good book or going for a walk with a close friend. 

 Reaching your goals will make the effort worth it, too. 

Sometimes, the big expense you want to make isn't impulsive at all. It could actually be extremely necessary, like an improvement to your home, repairs for your vehicle, or simply stocking up on groceries. If that's the case and you need the money as soon as possible, consider applying online for a quick and easy personal loan from Atlas Credit today!

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