Impulse Spending – The Death of Your Financial Goals
Monday is my worst day of the week. I know this is the same for many people hence the phrase “Monday Blues”, but wow, Monday really does take the trophy in being a terrible day. And here’s the funny thing, I rarely have terrible Mondays. My hatred is from a place where I feel that Monday creeps up on me. One second it is Friday and I am excited about the weekend, hashtagging the TGIF, and before I know it, I am telling myself that I should go to bed because tomorrow is Monday.
This week I got stressed and bought a pillow. Well a cushion really, because I couldn’t find a pillow but the gravity of the situation is the same. If you had told me that a day would come when I would buy a cushion impulsively, I probably would have died from laughing at you. But behold, here I am, feeling very happy with my newly acquired cushion.
And that’s a huge problem ladies and gentlemen.
As if I didn’t have enough on my plate buying shoes, jeans, lipstick, movies, food impulsively, I have now added pillows/cushions on the list. What’s next? Buying duvets just because I can. I will tell you this, I am extremely scared. I thought I was handling my impulsive spending but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I don’t know how big your income has to be to afford basic needs like rent, food and transport while you are giving in to your impulse spending desires. But good for you. I, on the other hand, can’t afford to impulse spend. Not if I plan on having lunch for all the thirty days of the month. My poor spending habits need help, and since seeing a therapist will only increase my expenses, I am all that I have to work on it.
In case you are wondering, impulse spending is the unplanned decision to buy a product or service, made just before the purchase. If you are currently going through an impulse spending phase, or have been in the past, here are some ways to help salvage your financial situation;
- Plan your spending: Having a plan for your spending helps you realize you’re impulse spending and deal with it sooner rather than later.
- Only carry money that you need: This reduces the chances of giving in to temptation to spend on something that you hadn’t planned to. A lot of the time, people want to carry extra money in case of an emergency, but remember your money is on a bank account, Mobile Money account, (under the bed), should you need to access it. There is therefore no need to burden yourself with those bundles of cash (LOL).
- Give in to the smaller impulse spends to save on would-be bigger impulse spends: If your plan for the month is to have home cooked meals since they are cheaper, it is better to give in to a rolex than a Javas wrap. If your stomach is craving a non home cooked meal, it won’t matter to it whether it is a rolex that went to UPE or one that went to international school. Remember the goal is not to torture yourself.
- Understand your impulse spending: Impulsive spending is not an isolated incident. If you are randomly buying things, then it is because you are feeling something. Figure out whether it is happiness, sadness, anxiety. Whatever it is, finding out what makes you impulse buy will help you find other/better ways to deal with it. It helps you find ways to avoid temptation.
- Stay away from the mall/other shopping grounds: If your temptation is roadside food like yours truly, then you should stay away from roads where food is sold. Whatever it is, stay away. As long you go to places where you can be tempted, there is a chance that you will give in to the temptation.
- Accountability: Having someone that you are accountable to will help you fight the urge to give in to unplanned spends aka impulse buys.
Nothing. Not a great pair of jeans or a fancy meal is worth jeopardizing your financial plan. Focus on the bigger picture.