Tuesday, May 28, 2013

6 Ways to Stop Impulse Spending

stark target store aisle
 (Photo credit: Cubosh)
Unless you track every penny you spend, you’d be surprised how much of your daily spending goes to waste. Whether it’s walking past a store and insisting on buying a new pair of sneakers or stumbling across a sweet deal on a trip to Ireland on one of those daily deal sites – you know you’ve done it before – and here’s how to stop:
1. Know the layout of the store
We tend to overspend at the grocery store. Have you noticed that the staple items (milk, bread, eggs) are usually located towards the back of the store? This way, you have to walk through the entire store just to get to what you need – and while you’re at it, you pass tons of items along the way, which makes it more likely for you to throw some items you don’t need into your cart. This is the heart of impulse spending!
Also – items on the shelves that are eye-level tend to be a bit more expensive, since the stores know that it’s so much easier to grab an item mid-level on the shelf, rather than having to reach for items at the top and bottom of the shelf.
2. Don’t get distracted in the grocery store
The less time you spend in the grocery store, the less chance you’ll start buying items you don’t need. First, don’t shop with a shopping cart, because you might feel tempted to fill up the cart – use a basket instead.
Also – listen to your own music to the store. You may not realize this, but stores will play different types of songs with different beats, depending on the how busy the store is at a given time, just to keep you in the store longer.
3. Stay away from daily deal sites
Have you perused the deals on sites like Groupon, Gilt and LivingSocial? The offers can be pretty tempting. From clothing, restaurants to trips to Europe to spa treatments, you can find a deal for just about everything on these social couponing sites.
Unless in you’re in the market for something specific – maybe a new jacket or a deal for a restaurant in your area – stay off these sites. Think about it: if you stumble upon a sweet deal on a gym membership, you might feel tempted to take advantage of the deal. What if you never went to the site – would joining a gym even be on your mind?
4. Unsubscribe
Any time you subscribe to a store’s email list, they’re going to flood your inbox with sales and special events to try and lure you into the store. So if you get an email that the store is offering 25% off dress shoes, but you already have three pairs, that email might prompt you to stop by the store to try and purchase yet another pair of shoes that you don’t need.
Unsubscribe from emails that will tempt you to spend money – it’s that simple. If a store is having a sale, you don’t want to know!
5. Say NO to department store credit cards
Another tool that causes us to spend money is having a wallet filled with department store credit cards. With these cards, the retailer will give you a 10-15% discount when you buy something in the store using the card.
But now when you walk into the store, every item you want to buy will seem even more attractive and tempting thanks to this discount.
6. Stick to cash
You’ve heard this many times, but when you think about it, it makes total sense. Paying for items via credit card doesn’t allow us to psychologically realize exactly how much money we’re spending. There are no boundaries with credit cards (besides the actual credit limit, but many times we don’t remember what our credit limit is). The cashier swipes the card and gives it right back to you so you can keep spending. With cash, you’re actually removing something tangible from your wallet.
Shelling out five twenty dollar bills for a $100 pair of jeans just might make you reconsider that purchase.
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