It has been said all human behavior can be traced directly to the pleasure principle, wherein our actions are driven by the desire to experience pleasure or avoid pain.
Most of us shop to solve a problem. Our lawn needs cutting, so we’ll buy a mower to make the task easier to accomplish. This boils down to avoiding pain.
However, many of us buy things just because it makes us feel good to do so. While this is OK every now and then, it’s time to learn how to beat a spending problem when it becomes the primary motivation.
Try To Recognize Your Triggers
Some of us shop because we like the attention we get from sales people, but feel guilty about consuming their time and make a purchase even if we don’t really want or need the item. Other people buy things to try to lift their mood when they feel glum. Hanging out with friends who buy indiscriminately can make us feel we also need to do so just to be part of the crowd.
Look at some of the things you have around the house collecting dust and recall what drove the purchase decision. Most of the time it was one of the above — or something closely related. These are your triggers. Getting a handle on them makes them easier to resist.
Institute a Spending Moratorium
Rather than buying something the moment the impulse strikes, schedule the purchase on your phone for 30 days later. If you still want the item in a month, odds are it’s a genuine desire, rather than an irrational impulse.
However, in most cases, you’ll be on to something else and wondering why you were attracted to that thing in the first place. It’s far better to wait and still have the money than it is looking at the item a month later and wonder why you bought it.
Avoid Temptation Situations
Far too many of us will surf eBay and Amazon with no specific purchase intention in mind. We’re just looking to see if we see something we want to kill some time.
Go looking only when you need something specific. Otherwise, you’re more likely to buy something just because it’d be nice to have it. Similarly, if you know you have a strong affinity for certain types of items, stay away from the places they are sold.
Call for Backup
Realizing we have crushing debt, with no real idea of how things got that way, is often a direct result of a spending problem. Consulting a credit counselor is a good way to figure out where your money goes, why it goes and how to get it under control.
A company like Freedom Debt Relief can also be of help if the problem has become so significant you can no longer afford to pay all of your bills. However, you must be prepared to curb your spending, lest you dig that hole all over again.
Ask your friends and family for help with the issue. We’re taught by society to feel embarrassed when we have money problems and yet there are too few places to go to learn to manage money properly. Asking friends to hold you accountable can introduce a barrier to random purchases because you’ll have to justify them to someone.
Watch Your Pennies to Preserve Your Dollars
Keeping track of your expenditures will definitely help you beat a spending problem. Create a spending plan based upon your income and obligations and strive to stick to it.
A key aspect of doing so is observing where your pennies go. A good expense tracker app will help you do this. The pleasure is diminished and the pain becomes more evident when you see how much of your money is going to things you can live without.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.