For such a long time, I had been the type of person to buy things out of impulse. I eat when I feel hungry and had to satisfy a certain craving no matter how expensive it maybe, I shop when I’m bored, and what’s bad is that I don’t watch my spending because I have money to spend. Saving and planning is not on my vocabulary back then. All of these were mindless purchases, and whenever I look back, if I had just invested all those money in stocks, I would’ve been a millionaire by now.
A person who buys on impulse is mindless. Outside triggers have power over her more than herself, and she isn’t even aware of it. She almost always reacts, and didn’t give herself a chance to pause and think. To change that, she has to be able to have great mental strength.
There are a lot of reasons why people overspend. It could be:
- Wanting to impress other people
- Advertising Triggers
Whatever your reasons may be, there are ways to solve your impulse buying. Here are some of the things I did that actually worked in controlling how I spend my money:
- Pray. Always first thing on my list. The universe provides all the things we need, including strength and more self-control. Don’t waste your power to ask for those things. Whenever something bothers me, or any negative feeling visits me, I always pause and pray. And it never fails. God answers.
- Practice being more mindful. Mindfulness is a big deal. Mindfulness is being able to think first about what’s happening in the present moment before acting, before speaking, and before reacting. A mindful person knows that what she sees outside her world isn’t necessarily what she thinks it is. She is aware that whatever decisions she makes defines who she is. Living a mindful life is very simple, but it requires a big change of habits. Start your mindfulness by praying first thing in the morning. Sit silently and pray. Ask God to help you be more mindful. Meditate in peace. Do things slowly. Breathe everytime you get a chance. Practice yoga if you have time. Practice to pause first before reacting. Don’t let your body and emotions decide faster than your mind.
- Declutter. Start living the life you want by removing the things that you don’t want. A lot of us has been bringing with us a lot of junk – emotional, mental, physical and spiritual junk. Start removing all of these junk. Start by doing some general cleaning at home. Keep what you need and what sparks joy, and dispose the rest. Then, after that, continue with removing people. Keep who you need, who brings joy in your life, those who choose you and prioritize you, and let go of the rest. Proceed with what you intake in your mind. Choose the media you intake. Plan what media you will intake. Stay away from stressful topics like politics and social issues. Limit your social media to an hour. Remove garbage information. Read books that are fun, the ones that can make you happy. Once you did a overhaul, it will be very easy for you to reject new stuff that might mess up your clean happy life. It’s because you choose quality.
I was a real messy person, but the day I start decluttering my life in all areas, and felt REAL happiness, it is super easy to reject unhealthy impulses. And what’s great is that, impulses now seldom come. It’s great to know that I am healed from that, and you can be too.
- Have a detailed vision of your plans and dreams. I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT to travel the world, and I figured that I had to have multiple streams of income to be able to achieve my dreams. I work really hard everyday. I live in a third world (but very beautiful) country, so I work extra hard to be able to save. Just this reason alone motivates me to choose where I spend my money on and requires me to think first before spending on stuff that I will benefit only for short term. I made my dreams detailed. From where I will start my journey, to the place that I will go to in that country, and to the place where I will stay in and eat, everything is already set. In fact, I’ve already done my 2017 itinerary (my travel with my fiance soon-to-be hubby) and broken down the expenses that I needed to save for. The fact that I had to save a crap load of money for me to be able to visit these countries stops me right there from spending on crappy things. I prioritize freedom more than the persuasive purchase in front of me. If you laid down your plans and see how hard it is to achieve it (but doable), it is super easy to say no to your cravings.
- Embrace Discomfort. Sometimes, it’s discomfort that is making us spend more. It’s such a huge relief to shop after working hard. It feels good. It feels rewarding, right? I used to not love the feeling after work. It’s stressful, and sometimes depressing. Being in the creative business really sucks the life out of us. Creating stuff out of nowhere, EVERYDAY, leaves my soul empty. But things changed because my mindset changed. I DECIDED to start loving this feeling. This feeling is what I get for having worked hard and accomplished stuff. This feeling is what I get for being able to make many people happy. This feeling is another reason to take care of myself more. This feeling makes me appreciate myself more, and have greater respect for me. I love this feeling. If you think about it this way, things will start to change. And when you do, think of ways to reward yourself, not just through spending. Think about a relaxing bath, a good book, a fun time with friends. There are a lot of alternatives other than spending. Also, don’t forget to pray and say thanks to God for having a productive day. It’s an instant mood boost.
- Gratitude. Again, I repeat, saying thanks to God works wonders. Being contented with what you have and appreciating them everyday makes you a happier person, and being happy with what you have decreases your cravings for wanting more. Yesterday, I was able to finish my 3 month productivity plan, I drank yummy Iced Choco that I made, I goof around with my sister and cousins, I was able to finish 2 posts, I spend time just looking at pictures of the countries I want to go to. I said thanks to God for all those events yesterday. The smallest things keep us the happiest, and please don’t make the mistake of taking them for granted, like everyone else always does. What made you happy today and yesterday?
- Set aside a budget for “pleasure” money. The worst thing that you could do after getting your earnings is to spend it immediately, without actually planning how you will do so. Before I get my money, I have already planned it in my head. 50% goes to my expenses, 20% goes to my pleasure money, 20% goes to my savings and 10% I give away. Once I got the money, I set aside the money in jars that I labeled. Then, I made a FIRM decision to stick to the plan. It always works. Mindfulness makes this happen.
- Resolve your negative emotions. What makes you buy on impulse? Are you bored? If yes, do something fulfilling. Are you afraid of missing out? Don’t be. Your stuff doesn’t define who you are. It’s you, your principles and your decisions that define who you are, and be proud of you. This mentality makes you not let other people validate yourself. Don’t let them have the power to do so. Don’t be envious. If you are really happy with your life, you won’t be. What makes you really happy? Keep in mind spending only makes you happy for a short period of time. It won’t resolve the unhappiness and discontentment. It will only make it worse. Whatever your issue is, define what they are and seek for ways to resolve it.
- Know who you are. If you know who you are, you will know what you want, and it will be easier for you to reject things that looks pretty but aren’t really your thing. Keep exploring if it’s something you haven’t tried yet (and you have extra money to spend), but if it’s just pretty and you are hooked because it’s on sale or there’s promo, think again.
- Never buy on the day itself. Always plan your spending. A day before is good. Just give your time to think thoroughly before actually buying it. If you think you really need it and it makes you feel happy, then put it in your purchase list.
Deciding to do this is always the first step, and start defining yourself as someone responsible by making the decision of sticking to it. Tell yourself, “I love myself and I will take care of myself by taking care of my financial stability.” But change isn’t overnight. Start taking small steps. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, you are precious and you are a work in progress.