De-stress before you shop
Shopping can be therapeutic, especially if you’re going through life changes, or if you’re in the habit of putting others first. But it’s easy to get hooked on the thrill. Often, after a bad day, we can be drawn to something we simply don’t need as we unconsciously chase that high. We can’t help it — that’s just how the human mind works — but we can work around it.
Read a book. Go for a walk around the block. Play a game on your phone. Meditate. However you psychologically detox, just make sure you’re calm before you hit the shops. Without stress and anxiety draining your mental energy, you’ll find yourself more resilient against the indiscriminate impulse to buy.
Reset your 'normal'
Like anything, spending money can become a habit. And over time, it becomes our baseline — the activity we must maintain in order to feel normal. If buying is the first thing that comes to mind when life feels lacking, you might be due for a reset.
Remember, the best things in life are free. Look to more spend-free and spend-less options for having fun, like having a movie night at home, playing your favourite video game, going for a walk or attending a free event. It’ll take some time to achieve a new ‘normal’, but with a positive attitude, you’ll find yourself enjoying the simple things once more.
Pay with cash instead of card
Credit and debit cards were designed to make life easy. Unlike the physical act of carrying, counting and handing over cash, tapping or swiping a card is a smooth activity. So smooth, we almost don’t think about the fact we’re doing it, making it easy to lose track of how often it happens.
Try leaving your cards at home the next time you go out, opting for a fixed amount of cash instead. This habit can encourage mindful spending by forcing you to notice when money leaves your hands, allowing less room for that shopper’s impulse to creep in.
Give yourself a cooling off period
When something catches your eye, don’t force yourself to just walk away — the disappointment can be disheartening and trigger other stress factors you don’t need. Instead, promise yourself you’ll think about it for a day or two.
This is a great life-hack for overcoming a spending habit. You’re not buying on impulse, but you’re not telling yourself “no” either. Rather, you’re sincerely considering how this purchase fits into your life, and whether you like it enough to come back for.
Use an app to track your spending
With an app, you’ll have all the information on hand wherever you go. Free apps can range from simple spending diaries to specially designed platforms for increasing your financial consciousness. Frollo, for example, includes features for defining goals, spending limits and setting up reminders to keep you motivated.
Impulse shopping is essentially a ‘no-think’ activity. By tracking your spending, you not only get to see where your money’s going, you start to develop awareness over your personal patterns around buying. This in turn transforms you into a more mindful spender, reducing the likelihood of impulse buying in the future.