The impulsters guide to avoiding silly holiday sale spending

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”
George Eliot

We are reformed impulsists. There was a time when like most people we saw something, something that 5 minutes beforehand we didn’t even know existed in the world, and now suddenly we were it’s new owners. The we’d walk a few steps more and whammo. Again we’d buy something stupid. We’d take this stuff home and think WTF did we buy this junk?

If you are even a moderately afflicted impulster then I have some bad news for you. It’s unlikely that you’ll retire early. Worse news it’s very likely you may remain the working poor for the majority of your adult life.

There are a few very simple cures for this financially devastating debilitating disease – impulsivity.

For starters, don’t carry money.

If you are saving hard you shouldn’t have wads of cash to blow anyway. Allow yourself to carry a single $20 note per week. No bank cards, cheque book or credit cards.

Second carry a small note sheet in your wallet or a notebook in your purse. Write the date, the item and the shop when you see a ‘must have’. At the end of the month if you are still enamored with your find then go back and get it. Most often a calendar month is enough time to distinguish treasure from junk.

The last suggestion is the one that really helped us.

We made a spending plan instead of a budget.

A budget is restrictive. It’s like a diet. Pretty soon you start thinking about what you are missing out on and then suddenly one midnight sale you are splurging 7 months of savings on a ride on vacuum cleaner for your two bed condo.

The spending plan, unlike a budget, lists the things you’d like to buy in descending priority order. Then you allocate a percentage of your spare cash to these things. When you have enough saved go buy your precious…

The spending plan then becomes your defense against idiotic impulse buying. When you feel that impulse urge take out your spending plan and review it. If you buy the sudden something you are introducing a delay in getting the things you really want. On occasion you might modify your spending plan to include the desired item. Even still add it to your list and then wait at least 30 days. Most often you will realize how silly the impulse is in the context of achieving what it is that you really want.

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