Leave That Wallet Behind
I used to make frequent, impulse purchases in the middle of the workday—buying snacks is my financial Achilles’ heel. So my trick is to leave my wallet at the office during my lunch break, which makes spur-of-the-moment buys literally impossible!
Stephanie, Arlington, VA
Rename Your Accounts
I changed the names of my checking and savings account names to reflect their purposes, ranging from “Emergencies ONLY”, “Do you really need that?” and “Needs Not Wants.” The simple act of nicknaming my accounts has, in a very short amount of time, changed how I interact with them—and my money.
Elena, Eugene, OR
Treat Shopping as a Scouting Mission
I never make a purchase when I’m at the store. If I like a particular piece of clothing, I’ll look at the quality, try it on for size and then put it back. Over the next week or two, I’ll consider if it’s something that I still really want or need, and then I’ll search Google for a promo code and either order it online (with free shipping, of course) or go back to the store to buy it. I’ve eliminated all of my impulse shopping by doing this.
Charmin, Scottsdale, AZ
Consider Your Cost Per Hour
I sometimes compare the cost of an item, meal or experience to how many hours (or days) of work it’s worth. Say I make $30 an hour, and I’m considering a $60 sushi meal. I have to evaluate if it’s worth my two hours of work!
Namrita, New York, NY
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Adopt the ‘One In and One Out’ Rule
I have a spending problem, which I’m tackling with baby steps. Right now, I’m trying to “maintain” with my one in and one out rule—if I buy something, I have to give a version of it away or sell it to make space for the new item. At first, it’s easy to replace old things. But once you start to over-shop, it becomes difficult to buy, say, new boots when you know you have two pairs that you don’t want to get rid of!
Shirley, Boston, MA
Keep a Running Tally on Your Phone
At the beginning of each month, I put the amount of spending money that I have budgeted into a note on my phone. Then, as soon as I make a purchase or withdraw cash from the ATM, I subtract that amount from the total. Since I know that I’m going to instantly see the total go down, I always take a second glance at the purchase to make sure that I really need it!
Katie, New York, NY
Avoid Buying On the Spot
I almost never buy something the first time that I see it, and give myself some time to think about whether I really want the item. And the more expensive the purchase, the more time that I’ll take to mull it over. For a $60 sweater, for example, I’ll wait about two weeks. For $200 concert tickets, I’ll give it a solid month. I’d say that 99% of the time, I completely forget about it.
Ryan, Baltimore, MD
Unsubscribe From Retailers
I’m a big fan of online shopping, so to curb that habit, I unsubscribed from all of those weekly and daily shopping emails—no more Gilt Blasts, and no more messages from J. Crew. I also limit the amount of time that I spend on style blogs and retailers’ websites because even looking at clothes online can “trigger” a spend.
Alex, Atlanta, GA
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