Let’s face it. We live in a consumerist society and splurging is easy – and fun. Online shopping has made it even easier to snap up a new fandangle smoothie blender or a dress you’ll only wear once at the click of a button. So how do you fight the urge to splurge?
“You can’t really stop a splurge,” reasons Marc Bineham, director at Noall & Co and vice president of the Association of Financial Advisers. “Sixty to 70 percent of splurges are not because you want that particular item, but because you’ve had a rotten day and you feel like you need to spoil yourself.”
The best way to minimise the impact of occasional splurges is to have a regular savings plan. “If you’re saving 10 per cent of your income, it’s fine to splurge every now and again,” Bineham said.
The power of a budget
Budgets don’t have to be complicated and can go a long way in helping you beat the temptation to spend, according to Bineham.
“It’s very simple to follow a budget and that usually fixes [the temptation to splurge],” he said. “The main thing is to have an idea of your cash flow and do a list of big ticket items and expenses… It makes you think twice about your spending, so it’s a very powerful thing to have that understanding, particularly at a young age.”
Free budgeting apps available online can take the pain out of budgeting by doing all the work for you.
The 30-day rule
A common tip suggested by financial advisers as a method for controlling impulse is to adopt the 30-day rule. This surprisingly effective rule stipulates that whenever you feel the urge to splurge – whether it’s a new video game, a snazzy kitchen gadget or a pair of shoes – wait 30 days and if you still want the item then, buy it. In most cases, you’ll find the urge has subsided and you’ve saved yourself the expense.
Keep your splurges small
A $20 t-shirt is friendlier on the wallet than a $150 pair of shoes and just as likely to give you the feel-good buzz of a bigger splurge. If you break down your splurges into smaller, more manageable items throughout the month you won’t feel like you’re denying yourself and your bank balance will thank you.
Don’t shop when you’re sad…
…Or stressed, angry, anxious or frustrated. These are the times when you’re more likely to succumb to impulse buying. Do something else to relieve the tension instead, such as going for a swim or a long walk, having a relaxing bath or catching up with a friend.