How to Actually Stick to a Shopping Budget
Sticking to a budget during the holidays is HARD! We researched a few easy ways to use behavioral economics to stick to your budget and save some serious cash.
Debt Agreement Administrator ‘Ben’ talks about his recent shopping experience:
“I walked out of the store holding the skateboard and elbow pads. My son’s birthday was in a week and I thought it would he would love it. Money is tight at the moment however, we’ve had some unexpected expenses come up, we have a strict budget in place and a skateboard was definitely not on the shopping list. We had already budgeted AND bought a present. I was standing there looking the skateboard, yet it was like someone else had bought it and put it in my hand.”
That got us to thinking. What can we do to avoid buyers remorse?
Our tips for sticking to a shopping budget:
Self-control is an illusion. Your choices depend in large part on your environment. If you’re trying to lose weight and you have loads of junk food in the fridge, you are going to eat junk food. If you can change your environment you will increase your chances of sticking to your budget.
- Withdraw all the cash you need for the week and put it in your wallet/purse. Remove all your cards from your wallet. It will be impossible to spend more than you budget allows if you don’t have any extra funds with you.
- Don’t go to the shops. Going to shopping malls can be a trigger for spending. It you need something, even groceries order them online.
- Don’t go out drinking. After a couple of drinks it’s very easy to spend a lot of money. If you want to drink, drink at home.
- Give someone else your credit card. If you need to use it, you’ll have to ask them.
- If you always go to a particular takeaway/coffee shop devise a new route home.
- 7 day rule – before you make any large purchase give yourself 7 days to think it over.
- Security Council Veto – Establish a rule between you and your partner about how much is ok to spend without the other’s authority. Somewhere between $100-200 is a good starting point. If you don’t have a partner, use someone else, like a parent, sibling or good friend.
- Tomorrow is the best time to start a budget or a diet. However tomorrow never comes. The best way to beat procrastination is to set a date. Write it on a calendar. Tell your friends. Now you’re committed.
- You don’t have to do the whole thing. Just do something. Put one foot in front of the other. For example you don’t have to do a whole budget you could just commit to reducing your take away food spend.
Get started today! Debt Mediators has a free online budget calculator where you can enter income, expenses and debts to get a clear picture of where your money is going and help you identify areas that you need to trim down. Spending a little time on budget today is a smart investment in your financial future.