Curb Impulse Spending

Bill EickhoffFamily Who Saves, Personal Finance

Trying to involve the entire family in saving and budgeting? Impulse spending (at Target, grocery store, online) is the enemy of a strong budget.  Here are five quick tips to manage those trouble spots:

    1. Avoid the $80 toothbrush:  Ever gone into Target for just one or two things and walk about $80 later?  Or stop at the grocery store for bread and come out with a carload?  Make a list before you enter any store (Target, Grocery Store, etc) and give the list to your kids–ask them to make sure you stick to the list.  Even if your kids can’t read yet, they can ask you if you’re sticking to the list.
    2. Plan for Impulse Purchases:  If going to the store without the promise of ANY impulse purchases will steal all the fun and joy out of your day, then set a small budget for impulse purchases–for yourself and your kids.  Tell them in advance you’re not going to spend over $5-10 on things not on your list.
    3. Add It Up: Hand your kids a calculator and ask them to add up the cart as you go.  It’ll keep them occupied and keep you shopping
    4. Wait It Out: Set a 24-hour waiting period on all purchases over ($50, $100, etc).  This is a great skill to teach your kids–you may want it, but go home and think it over.  If you wake up the next morning . . .and have the money . . . then allow yourself the purchase.
    5. Don’t Take Your Credit Card: Some families put all purchases on their credit cards and then pay them off each month in order to earn rewards points–this is a terrific strategy if you know you can handle it!  But if you know that’s not you and you have a budget for expenses, you don’t need to take your credit card in with you to the store.  Why tempt yourself?  Keep your budget (and credit) safe by leaving it at home (or in the car, etc).  You can always retrieve it in an emergency.

Becoming a Family Who Saves & Plays Together happens one healthy decision at a time!

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