How to avoid impulse spending

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Our nation is in bad shape economically, with very few people who have actually accumulated wealth. Very few, it seems, have learnt the great lessons of creating wealth. They have learnt the true value of money.

I heard an interesting story once. There was a very wealthy family and they had gone on a vacation. At some point the grandmother went for shopping with her son, leaving the rest at the resort.

After purchasing their necessities, the grandmother felt that she graved chocolates. The son asked her to just pick it up and pay for it; after all it didn’t cost much. Her reply was shocking but very educational. She said that, they didn’t have it in their budget and she wasn’t willing to spend money on something unplanned no matter how cheap it was.

Answer these questions truthfully:

  1. Does your spouse or partner complain that you spend too much money?
  2. Are you surprised each month when you review your bills how much more you spent than you thought you had?
  3. Do you have more shoes and clothes in your closet than you could ever wear?
  4. Do you own every new gadget before it has time to collect dust on a retailer’s shelf?
  5. Do you buy things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them on display in a store?

If you answered “yes” to any two of the above questions, you are an impulse spender and indulge yourself in retail therapy.

This is not a good thing. It will prevent you from saving for the important things like a house, a new car, a vacation or retirement. You must set some financial goals and resist spending money on items that don’t matter in the long run.

Impulse spending will not only put a strain on your finances but your relationships, as well. To overcome the problem, the first thing to do is learn to separate your needs from your wants.

It is very important to learn that every cent cost you time and effort. None of the cents you have come because of luck. It took you sweat, and sometimes tears as you crumbled about your boss but kept going anyway. Cultivate a discipline to value every cent like the grandmother in the beginning of this piece.

Advertisers blitz us hawking their products at us 24/7. The trick is to give yourself a cooling-off period before you buy anything that you have not planned for.

When you go shopping, make a list and take only enough cash to pay for what you have planned to buy. Leave your bank cards at home.

If you see something you think you really need, give yourself two weeks to decide if it is something you need or something you can easily do without. By following this simple solution, you will mend your financial fences and your relationships.

Personal finance management can be pursued by anyone. It all takes some self-introspection and discipline to make necessary changes in one’s lifestyle.

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Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.