Reduce Mindless Spending
By Erica Gellerman
Have you ever walked into a Target for two things and come out with 15? Are you always logged into your Amazon prime account so you can buy safety pins, socks and hair ties with the ease of one-click shopping? Or have you ever come home to put away your new black shirt, only to realize you already have three others just like it? If not, I am incredibly impressed. But if so, join the Be BETTER Challenge this week to reduce mindless spending.
This week the Be BETTER Challenge is to only purchase an item if you need it. Take the time to research what you already own and actually use it, wear it, eat it, drink it, etc.
I’ve always considered myself a budget conscious, savvy consumer. I know when to buy private-label products, and I like to wait until things go on sale to get the best deal. But lately I’ve noticed that I may not be as in control of my spending as I once thought. My check card gets a heavy workout, sometimes daily. I came home the other night to realize I had mindlessly bought another tape measure, without checking, which brings my home collection to five. And I realized that my nail polish collection has grown extensively, but I have never used any bottle more than a couple of times.
To help reduce mindless spending, let’s focus on three steps:
- Understand why you are spending mindlessly. Is it because you don’t have a lot of time to run errands, so when you’re out you pick up all the little things you think you might need? Has it been a while since you’ve gone through your closet or junk drawer to take inventory of what you already have? Or is shopping your way to de-stress? I am guilty of all three, but you may have different reasons for mindless spending. Understanding the why will help you make a plan to stop this habit.
- Now that you understand why you do this, create a plan for the areas where you do the most mindless spending. I decided my two areas of opportunity were taking inventory of what I currently own and to stop stress shopping. I spent the weekend going through my closet, my “junk drawer” and my bookshelf, as those are the areas where I do the most mindless spending. I donated any duplicate items I had, and this gave me an opportunity to remind myself of what I already own. I am also going to make a conscious effort to stay away from my favorite stress shopping stores (Nordstrom Rack and Target) and go for a walk outside instead. That’s not to say I won’t ever visit those stores again; I just will make sure to visit them only when I have a list of what I need, and not because I had a bad day at work.
- Create a weekly or monthly spending allowance, and stick to it. Extra purchases can easily sneak into your necessary shopping trips. Make sure you take those into account, and keep track of them against your spending allowance.
Be honest with your spending allowance and your progress; that way, we can cut back on our mindless spending together!
More Links: Mindful spending means paying more attention to the money exchange. We love this blog on The Frugal Girl...her motto is Cheerfully Living on LessOne way to help with habitual mindless spending is to take a different perspective on money exchange. If we buy from more local/artisan relaters then the money we spend is going directly to the producer, thus paying the hard working people for their service and products. This also encourages us to make the mindful choice of buying quality products that last longer than disposable cheeper ones