Saving money is never as easy as it sounds, especially if you have a bad habit of impulse spending. Your lack of impulse control may have gotten you deep into debt before, but there are ways you can change and start saving rather than spending.
If you want to learn how to get out of debt quickly by changing how you spend money, ask yourself these four questions before clicking that “check out now” button.
1) Do I really need this item?
Impulse purchases are things you buy that wasn’t previously planned. If you’re at the grocery store and decide to pick up something that wasn’t on your list because it sounds good, that’s an impulse purchase. Buying a shirt because it’s on sale and seems like a good deal is also considered an impulse purchase.
If you need help figuring out if your purchase is an impulse buy, then answer these questions:
- Why do I need this right now?
- Am I buying this just because it’s on sale?
- Can I return this product if I find out later that I don’t want it? If so, does that change whether or not I want this?
2) How much does this actually cost me?
If you’re in debt, you know the price you pay at the register may not be your final cost. Interest rates accrued by unpaid debt increase the cost for every item purchased, so that great deal might not be as great as you first imagined.
Cost can also relate to time. If you stop to think about the time you spent earning the money needed to pay for an item, you might decide it’s not worth buying after all. Would you be willing to work the additional hours it would take to make the same amount of money you’re about to spend, or is your time more valuable than that?
3) What would happen if I waited six months to purchase this item?
Take a step back and envision what might happen if this product or service wasn’t available for another six months. Would your life be affected in any way? In all likelihood, unless it’s replacing something critical like your transportation or housing, putting off buying the item for a few months might not be as life-changing as your emotions lead you to believe. Who knows, it might even go on sale by then or have a new upgrade.
If you ask yourself this question and decide that your life may be negatively impacted by holding off, then, by all means, go for it. But if your goal is to stop impulse buying and save more money, you must be honest with yourself about what’s more important: spending money now or putting that money away to accrue interest and spending it later.
4) Is this what’s most important to me?
Making the intentional decision to change your spending habits means learning how you prioritize goals and developing the discipline to stick to them. If you have difficulty making a habit of saving money a priority, it could be because you haven’t defined a goal you’re putting that money toward.
Consider setting up a dedicated savings account that’s tied to a specific thing you want in life. It could be saving for your wedding, a new house, a fancier car, whatever excites you. Once you have that goal set, stopping impulse purchases will become easier because the money spent on what you want now means less money will go toward what you’re saving money for.
The bottom line
Getting out of debt means having to change the way you spend money. If you’re an impulse shopper by nature, then use these four questions to help break the cycle of debt so you can create the life and financial stability you deserve.
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