1. Create A 30-day List
When you see something you want to buy, wait to buy it until 30 days after you see it or want it. Put a 30-day list on your refrigerator or in your phone; when you have that impulse to buy something, put it on the list with today’s date. After a month has passed, buy the item, if you even still want it. Many times that initial urge will have passed; and you can cross the item off the list and add something new that you want. There will of course be exceptions such as groceries and various necessities. If 30 days is too long to wait, start with a few days, then seven days, then two weeks, then build up to 30 days. You will find that things you think you want, you really decide you don't, or you want something else entirely.
2. Plan Your Purchases
Try to plan for your purchases. Whether these are big purchases, like a house or a car, or small purchases like simply going to Target. This will help you ensure your purchases are more deliberate, and less impulsive. Plan ahead for birthday and Christmas gifts. You can even separate your gifts into different accounts if that makes it easier for you to stick to your budget and purchases.
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3. Ask Yourself Questions - Do You Really Want This?
Before you go shopping in-store or online, ask yourself a series of questions about the purchase. Is the purchase going to improve your life in a way that you really need? Will this purchase make you feel better or worse after you buy it? Does it help you meet one of your life goals? Will it simplify your life? These questions will help you evaluate the purchase and why you’re making it. Just be honest and really try to think if you want to buy this.
4. Make Wish Lists
Many financial advisors will tell you to avoid Target, malls, online stores and boutiques completely. For some people that is great, but for others that is just completely unrealistic. If you can make a list before you shop online, or even before you go into a store and stick to only what is on that list, this may help you with any impulses. If Target or Walmart are really difficult temptations for you, it may be better to make a list of what you need, shop online and only order those items to be delivered to you, pick up in-store, or curbside if your store offers that. Also, if you can go to your favorite online stores and if they allow you to, instead of placing the items in their cart, place the onto a wish list. This will allow yourself the time to decide if you really want the items.
5. Set A Budget and Stick To It
This one is pretty simple, set yourself a budget for whatever you are shopping for and stick to it. You can even give yourself a little bit of wiggle room so if you see something you might want, you can stick to it and not feel bad for going over your budget.