Money Mindset

  • How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Financially

    How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Financially

     

    You wanna know one of the most common complaints I hear from money coaching clients?

    “I can’t help but look at my friends and feel like they’re doing better than I am.”

    People tend to feel that their friends are making more money, don’t have as much debt, or aren’t facing the same financial hurdles they are.

    And so they spend hours stuck in comparison, feeling jealous that they don’t have as much money, or feeling less than for not being in a better place.

    All this comparison does is hold you back from reaching your goals and make you feel resentful when you don’t need to.

    Because here’s the thing: those people you’re comparing yourself to financially are comparing themselves to someone else — maybe even you.

    In this article, I’m sharing why you need to stop comparing your finances to other people’s, and how you can finally do that.

     

    How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Financially

     

    Why you need to stop comparing your finances to other people’s

     

    You’re only seeing the highlight reel

    When was the last time you posted something on social media about your financial struggles, the fight you had with your partner, or the bad day you had at work?

    I’m guessing it’s not likely. People don’t tend to share the hard stuff on their social media pages. Instead, they share the highlight reels. They share their absolute best days and favorite moments.

    And from those moments, you have no idea what someone’s life really looks like.

    It’s easy to look at someone who just went on your dream vacation and feel jealous that they could afford it and you can’t. But what you might not see is that they put the whole thing on a credit card and it will take them years to pay it off.

    This is just one example, but it shows you that what someone posts on social media isn’t really a good indication of what’s going on behind the scenes.      

     

    Comparison slows your own progress

    Have you ever noticed how all-consuming it can be to compare yourself to others?

    You notice that your peers aren’t struggling with the same student loan debt you are, and you spend all of your time thinking about it.

    Meanwhile, you aren’t spending time thinking about how to achieve your goals faster. So instead of helping get you to where you want to be, that comparison trap actually holds you back.

    Unless you have a very good reason for comparison (i.e. comparing your salary to others in your industry to make sure you’re being fairly compensated), it’s actually hurting you.

     

    Comparison leads to more spending

    Comparing your finances to other people’s can get really expensive really quick.

    A survey from 2019 found that 48% of millennials had spent money they didn’t have and gone into debt to keep up with their friends.

    What’s crazy is that we’re going into debt to keep up with other people who are going into debt to keep up with us.

    Maybe you look at your friend and think, “I’m not sure I can afford this girl’s trip, but she makes about the same amount I do. So I guess if she can afford it, so can I.”

    And she’s looking back at you and thinking the exact. same. Thing.

    Next time a friend suggests something that’s a little outside of your price range, ask if you can do a budget alternative instead. Instead of hitting happy hour for wine and charcuterie, ask if you can do a DIY version at your place. I’m willing to bet that other people would rather do the same thing.

     

    Your priorities aren’t the same as everyone else’s

    It’s easy to feel jealous or resentful that you can’t afford the same things as everyone else. But have you ever really stopped to ask yourself if you want those same things?

    I used to feel jealous about people who could splurge on makeup and clothing. And at times I went over budget to have them for myself.

    But when I really thought about it, I realized that wasn’t me. I wear basically the same outfit every day, and I rarely wear makeup. When I do, the drugstore stuff is just fine.

    Another thing to consider is that their priority might be short-term satisfaction, while yours is long-term security and happiness.

    Sure, you could afford to go on more vacations or have a more expensive car payment. But at what cost?

    Spending more money on those things might hold you back from your long-term goals of retiring early, buying your dream home, or starting a business.

     

    Everyone has their own battles

    Just like you don’t really know what the ins and outs of someone else’s finances really look like, you don’t know what the rest of their life looks like either.

    Everyone has their own battles. Yours might be financial, and someone else’s may not.

    But the person you’re feeling jealous of might be facing something that you have no idea about, whether it’s an unhappy relationship, an illness in the family, or something else altogether. In fact, they might be looking at your life and feeling jealous because you aren’t dealing with the same struggle.

     

    How to stop comparing your finances

    It’s not easy to stop comparing yourself to others, especially when we see so much of other people’s lives on social media. But with a little work and practice, you can change your mindset and stop falling into that comparison trap.

     

    Put your goals front and center

    For every minute you spend thinking about someone else’s financial situation, that’s one less minute you spend thinking about your own. And the time you don’t spend thinking about your own goals just pushes back the date of when you’ll finally reach them.

    If you want to change your financial situation, put your goals front and center. You can do this by:

    • Sitting down and setting specific and actionable goals
    • Write your goals down somewhere that you’ll see them each day
    • Carve out time in your calendar every week to work on your goals
    • When your mind starts to focus on other people’s finances, sit down and do something to move you one step closer to your goals, even if it’s as simple as updating your budget

     

    Change your mindset around money

    How does money make you feel?

    For many people, the answer is anxious, angry, stressed, resentful, depressed, and so much more. And it’s easy to feel that way when you think about all the things going wrong, or all the financial struggles holding you back.

    But what if you changed the way you thought about money?

    For example, let’s say you’re working on paying off debt. And each month when you make that debt payment, you feel all sorts of negative feelings.

    You feel angry at past you for getting into debt in the first place. You feel resentful at the system where college is so expensive and people have to go into debt to get a degree. You feel embarrassed for letting your debt situation get so out of control.

    But what if you decided to think something else?

    Rather than focusing on the things your debt doesn’t allow you to do, think about the things it did. Instead of focusing on how your student loan payment sucks, think about how that debt allowed you to attend your dream school that you never would have been able to pay for with cash.

    Think about how your credit card debt, while perhaps ill-advised, allowed you to go on the best vacation you’ve ever had or leave an abusive relationship.

    Think about how your last car broke down unexpectedly, and you’re so grateful you were able to get a loan to buy a new one.

    It’s not going to be easy to change these thoughts. You’re actually going to have to work at it. But if you continue to remind yourself of these thoughts each time the negative ones come up, you can finally start to change your mindset around money.

     

    Practice gratitude for what you have

    Listen, I know that just about every self-improvement article you’ll ever read is going to tell you to practice gratitude, but there’s a good reason for that.

    Especially when it comes to your finances, showing gratitude for the things you already have is one of the best ways to reduce comparison and feel really happy with where you are.

    It’s easy to feel frustrated or resentful about the six-figures of student loan debt my husband and I had when we got married. And it’s really easy to look at the people in our lives who aren’t struggling with the same thing and feel a bit jealous.

    But when I really pay attention to the great things in my life, I’m not jealous at all.

    I have an amazing husband, a dog who we love, and we get to travel the country in our RV. Debt or no debt, I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.

     

    Reduce your time spent on social media

    I find that social media is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to comparison.

    When you see others posting their highlight reels online, it’s easy to wonder why they seem to be doing better than you. Maybe they’ve gone on an amazing trip, have a wardrobe that’s out of your price range, or are buying a house when you can barely afford your student loan bill.

    If you didn’t see those things on social media, you wouldn’t know most of them are happening. I’m all for keeping up with close friends and family on social media. But do you really need to know what the people you went to high school with are spending their money on?

    I certainly don’t expect you to fully give up social media. But you can either unfriend or unfollow people who are just causing you to compare, or you can simply spend less time on social media. It could do wonders for your mental health.

     

    Final Thoughts

    Comparison is one of the worst feelings because it constantly makes you feel as if you’re doing something wrong or aren’t enough. But it’s not true.

    By overcoming that comparison trap, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on your own finances, and you’ll reach your goals that much faster.

    CONTINUE READING

  • 5 Money Mindset Shifts to Help You Pay Off Your Debt

     

    When Brandon and I got engaged, I knew that I wanted to come up with a plan to pay off our debt more quickly. After all, we had a combined six-figures of debt, and I didn’t want that hanging over our heads for decades. 

    I knew that much debt would be a lot of work, but at that point, I had already dove into the world of personal finance. I knew the practical tips to follow to pay off debt faster. 

    And yet, I found myself struggling to sit down and come up with a real plan to put in place. 

    It took me a while to learn that it wasn’t the logistical steps of paying off debt that I was struggling with — It was the mindset. 

    All of the best advice in the world isn’t going to help you crush your debt if your mindset isn’t in the right place. 

    In this post, I’m sharing the five mindset shifts I had to make to help me pay off my debt. They can help you pay off your debt too!

     

    5 Money Mindset Shifts to Help You Pay Off Your Debt

     

    Let go of the victim mentality

    It took me a long time to stop playing the victim when it came to my debt and instead start taking responsibility for it. 

    I would blame the system for my student loan debt. I was angry to live in a country that puts people tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars into debt for a degree.

    And I didn’t just do this for my debt! I went through another round of it when my husband and I got married, as he had even more student loan debt than I did.

    I would also blame my ex-husband for my credit card debt. I believed that he had forced me into that situation taking everything in the divorce. 

    And honestly, sometimes it feels better to have someone else to blame. It’s comfortable to believe that it’s not your fault. 

    But here’s the thing: Until you learn to take responsibility for your debt, you’ll continue to let that victim mindset keep you in debt. 

    In other words, you’ll believe that since you aren’t the one who got yourself into debt, you can’t be the one to get yourself out of it. 

    Once you really take responsibility for your debt and acknowledge that you took it on, you’ll understand that you and you alone have the power to eliminate it. 

     

    Let go of any shame or guilt

    It’s important to take responsibility for your debt, but it doesn’t help you to carry shame or guilt over it.

    In a perfect world, none of us would have debt. In a perfect world, you would have found a different solution rather than borrowing money. 

    But we don’t live in a perfect world. And more importantly, there’s absolutely nothing you can do today to go back and change the decision you made. 

    The more time you spend sitting in shame and guilt regarding your debt, the less time you spend focusing on how you can pay it off more quickly. 

     

    Be grateful for your debt

    You’re probably reading this and thinking that it sounds ridiculous to be grateful for your debt. But hear me out. You can find something good that has come of your debt, if you look hard enough.

    Maybe it’s that you really love your job, and you only could have gotten it with a college degree. For that reason, you can be grateful for your student loans. 

    Maybe it’s that taking on credit card debt is what allowed you to leave a bad relationship and start over somewhere else, even if you couldn’t do it in cash. 

    Or maybe you’re like me, and your debt helped you to get back on track financially. If I hadn’t been stuck with credit card debt after my divorce, I wouldn’t have learned finance. And if I hadn’t learned finance, I wouldn’t have my business today. 

    Having debt is also what helped my husband and I to get so serious about budgeting. Sure, it’s still going to take us years to pay off our six figures of student loan debt. But when the debt is gone, we’ll have the good money habits forever. 

     

    Believe that you can pay off your debt

    Have you ever talked yourself out of getting serious about paying off debt because you felt like no matter what you did, you’d never get there?

    That’s what limiting beliefs do. They stop you in your tracks and prevent you from making real progress. 

    At the end of the day, you won’t be able to pay off your debt until you really believe that you can. And once you believe you can, you’ll be amazed and the ideas you come up with to help you get there. 

    If you’re struggling with this one, something as simple as putting a post-it note on your desk with a positive reminder can be a huge help!

     

    Learn to think outside the box

    I can’t tell you how many times I stared at my budget having no freaking clue what I was going to do, because there just wasn’t enough wiggle room to aggressively pay off my debt as fast as I wanted to. 

    I know so many people who are in this exact situation. They think they don’t make enough money to pay more than their minimum payments on their debt. 

    That’s when you have to get creative. 

    I decided that I didn’t want to cut anything else from my budget. I wanted to have the money for date nights with my husband and to spend money on things that bring us joy. 

    So instead of trimming my budget even more, I increased my income. For me, freelance writing was the answer. I already knew a lot about personal finance, so I decided to start writing for other people’s websites. 

    For you, it might be something else. Maybe you’ll give pet sitting a shot, or deliver groceries part-time. 

    There are so many options out there, you just have to think outside the box.

     

    Final Thoughts

    When I first started paying off my debt, I wanted all the tactical budgeting tips to help me get there. But what I eventually realized was that if I didn’t first fix my mindset, I’d never be able to fix my budget.

    If you’re struggling with debt, I sincerely hope you give some of these mindset shifts a shot.

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

     

    Have you ever been at a point in your life where you learn everything you can about personal finance in an effort to get your money shit in order, but you just can’t seem to turn things around?

    Believe it or not, your mindset might be the problem. The beliefs and feelings you have about money play a huge role in the decisions you make and what you make your money situation mean about you. 

    I’ve definitely struggled with a negative money mindset in my life. After my divorce, I spent a lot of time beating myself up about my debt, my lack of savings, and just my general lack of money expertise. 

    I can honestly say that changing my mindset around money has been just as instrumental in changing my circumstances as changing my money behavior was. 

    In this post, I’m sharing what a money mindset is and what steps you can take to turn yours around and develop a positive money mindset. 

     

    How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    What is a money mindset?

    Your money mindset is made up of all of the beliefs and feelings you have about money. People have either a scarcity or abundance money mindset, though to be honest, most of us probably fall somewhere in between. 

    You have a scarcity mindset if you believe there’s not enough money. You’re constantly telling yourself that money is tight and that you’ll never have enough to meet your goals. 

    If you have a scarcity mindset, you also probably beat yourself up about your money situation. When I struggled with a negative money mindset, I spent a lot of time beating myself up for taking on debt. 

    Not only do people with a scarcity mindset have negative thoughts about money, but they also often have negative thoughts about people who do have money. They might think that wealthy people aren’t good people. They probably also think that the more money someone else has, the less there is for the rest of us. 

    You have an abundance mindset if you believe that there’s plenty of money to go around. You trust that even if you spend the money you have now, more will come around. Everything will be okay. 

    When you have an abundance mindset, you don’t make money mean more than it does. You don’t make your money mistakes mean anything about you, just like you don’t make someone else’s money mean anything about them. 

     

    How to have an abundant money mindset

     

    Identify your current money beliefs

    Whether you realize it or not, you already have money beliefs that influence the way you think about money and the world. These beliefs might be a result of something your parents taught you during your childhood. 

    Think about phrases such as “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Most of us have heard it, partially because most of our parents probably said it. But have you ever stopped to think that your parents repeatedly telling you that actually taught you that money is finite and that there’s never going to be enough?

    Or maybe your parents told you that “money is the root of all evil.” If your parents drilled that into your head as a kid, you’re probably going to have some weird mental blocks about earning a lot of money. 

    You probably also have money beliefs based on your past experiences. Have you ever made a really stupid money mistake, and then for years afterward tell yourself that you’re bad with money? 

    What that really does is convince you that you’re bad with money. And far too many people develop that belief without ever trying to convince themselves otherwise. 

    If you’re struggling to identify what your current money thoughts are, write it out. Sit down with a notebook and just spend twenty minutes writing down everything you can think of about money. Eventually, something is going to come up. 

    Once you’ve identified what your current money beliefs are, you’ll start to identify where those beliefs came from. More importantly, you’ll see that you can change your beliefs.

     

    Understand that money is neutral

    One of the most important parts of changing your current negative money mindset to a positive one is recognizing that money is neutral. 

    So many people have a belief that money is evil, or that a lack of money is holding them back. Money isn’t evil and it isn’t out to get you. It has no value until we give it value. It has no meaning until you give it meaning. 

    I say all of this because a lot of people blame their money (or lack thereof) or their debt for the problems in their lives. The sooner you can come to terms with the fact that money isn’t out to get you, the sooner you’ll be able to change your mindset around it. 

     

    Focus on being grateful for what you have

    It’s easy to focus on all the things that are going wrong in your life. Regardless of your financial situation, you’re probably more likely to focus on the bad than the good. 

    You might spend a lot of time worrying about your debt or about going over budget on your grocery shopping. Yet you give almost no thought to the good things that your money has done for you. 

    Listen, it’s easy to look at your next-door neighbor with the luxury car or your friend with the designer clothes and feel bad about your life. But it might put things into perspective to remember that a huge portion of the world’s population is living in poverty. And if you live in a developed country, you’re luckier than most. 

    Whatever your financial situation, find ways to be grateful for it. Yes, even the things that are easy to complain about. Here are a few examples:

    • I’m grateful for my debt because it pushed me to get serious about personal finance
    • I’m grateful that I make more money in my current job than I did in my last one
    • I’m grateful knowing I’ll be okay even though I went over my grocery budget

    Each of those thoughts takes something that could be perceived as negative (debt, a moderate income, going over budget) and spins it in a positive light. 

    I guarantee that if you think hard enough, you’ll realize you have a lot to be grateful for. I know that for myself, I’m most grateful for the goals my money allows me to have. My husband and I are able to make plans to travel full-time and have adventures because of our financial situation. 

     

    Learn to love your money

    People are weird about money. These days it’s still a fairly taboo topic. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re talking to someone, tell them that you love money and see how they react.

    Here’s the thing though — You can’t expect to have a positive money mindset if you don’t have positive feelings about your money. 

    Part of the reason we feel weird about loving our money is that it’s not a topic people normally talk about. It’s weird for me to say that I love making a lot of money, because I’m not supposed to tell people that I make a lot of money. 

    Loving money is also a bit taboo because, let’s be honest, it probably makes us seem like we’re selfish or materialistic or bragging. There’s an element of guilt that comes with it. 

    If this is what’s holding you back, just remember that you can be generous and giving and still love your money. In fact, one great reason to love your money is that it allows you to help others. 

    There are lots of reasons to love your money. You can love your money:

    • For security it provides
    • For the goals it will help you to reach
    • For the good it will allow you to do in the world

     

    Get better with money

    I realize that this post is supposed to be about money mindset and not actionable budgeting advice. But one factor that’s had the biggest impact on my money mindset is getting better with money.

    You see, I used to have a really negative money mindset. Part of this was a result of the fact that I had zero confidence when it came to money. And my lack of confidence was a result of the fact that I just wasn’t good with money. 

    For years I thought I had my financial shit together. It turned out that I was just married to someone who had his financial shit together, and he managed the money. When we got divorced and I was on my own, it became abundantly clear that I had no idea what the heck I was doing. 

    For the next few years, I threw myself into learning everything I could about managing money. As my knowledge of finance increased, so did my confidence when it came to money. And as my confidence increased, my money mindset got better. 

    The best advice I have for getting started with personal finance is to do what I did — Read personal finance books and blogs. Here are a few to get you started:

     

    Set financial goals

    One of the negative money beliefs that many people have is that they’ll never be able to do all of the things they want to do. They won’t be able to go on that dream vacation or buy that dream house because they won’t have enough money. And because they believe it to be true, they don’t really take steps to change it. 

    I can tell you right now that if you don’t actually take steps to reach your financial goals, you won’t reach them. There will never come a day where you just magically have enough money in your bank account to achieve your financial goal. 

    When you actually take steps to set and go after goals, you start making progress on them. And as you start making progress on them, your money mindset gets better and better because you realize what is possible. It’s a constant cycle, and you get to decide which direction it goes!

    If you want to get started with setting financial goals but aren’t sure how, check out my guide on how to set goals and plan your best year ever

     

    Create a money mantra

    If you need to change your beliefs about money but can’t quite get there, a money mantra is what you need. I know the idea of a mantra sounds a little woo-woo and not like something that actually works, but it really does. 

    First things first, what the heck is a money mantra?

    A money mantra (aka affirmation) is a short but powerful statement that you repeat every single day (preferably multiple times per day) until you believe it. 

    Your mantra can be something written on a post-it at your desk that you say out loud. I prefer to write mine in my journal every day. 

    Here are a few mantras you can try if you aren’t sure where to start:

    • Money flows easily to me
    • Making money is easy
    • There is always more than enough money
    • I am financially free

    The first time you repeat your money mantra, you’re probably going to feel a bit ridiculous. After all, you’re probably not going to believe it right away. 

    A while back I started working on a mantra saying I can make as much money in my business as I want. At first it felt so clearly false. But now that I’ve been practicing it for a while, I actually believe it. 

     

    Read a money mindset book

    Hands down my favorite way to learn about money has been reading books. Learning about money mindset was no exception.

    I loved Jen Sincero’s first badass book, You Are a Badass. So when I saw she had a money mindset book coming out, I knew I had to read it. 

    In You Are a Badass at Making Money, Sincero shares her personal money journey. She talks about overcoming her bad money habits and her negative money mindset.

    This pulled me in right away because so many of the negative thoughts about money that Sincero said had held her back are thoughts I have had about money too.

    I love that she wrote the book from her own personal experience, and I genuinely think everyone can find something in this book that really hits home with them, from identifying the money beliefs that are holding you back to transforming your relationship with money.

    Finally, I just love Sincero’s writing style and sense of humor, which made it really easy to read.

    Click here to grab a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money.

     

    Final Thoughts

    Having a negative money mindset is so hard to overcome, in large part because a lot of us don’t even realize what our money mindset is.

    The things that we believe about money are a direct result of the experiences we’ve had so far. And unless you want your future to replicate your past, it’s time to make some mindset changes. 

    I know that honing in on my mindset and learning to have an abundant money mindset has been seriously life-changing.

    Changing my mindset has helped me to embrace my debt, while also paying it off faster than I ever would have thought. It’s helped me to drastically increase my income. Finally, it’s taught me to completely change the way I look at my life and my money. 

    I know that the tips in this blog post can do the same for you!

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Reduce Impulse Buying Once and For All

     

    Confession: I used to be really bad about impulse shopping. 

    In college, I would go to the mall, only to leave a few hundred dollars poorer and with bags of clothing that I would probably only wear a few times. 

    After college, I became an emotional shopper and would resort to spending money instead of dealing with the problems in my life and in my marriage. 

    Thankfully I’ve mostly eliminated my shopping habit, but only after racking up credit card debt. 

    Let’s be honest – we’ve all been guilty of impulse spending at one time in our lives (although probably a lot more just than one).

    In fact, a 2018 study by Slickdeals found that the average American spends an average of $450 per month on impulse spending, which adds up to $5,400 per year. 

    What?? 

    That means that even people who don’t think they do much impulse buying probably do their fair share of it after all. 

    I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot of things I would rather do with $5,400 per year! 

    In this post, I’m sharing 11 things I did to help kick my impulse buying habit, and that I know will work for you too! 

     

    How to Stop Impulse Buying Once and For All

     

    Why Do We Make Impulse Purchases?

     

    You’re in the habit of spending

    A lot of people are quick to swipe their credit cards simply because they’re in the habit of doing so. Once it becomes a habit, it’s really hard to realize how often you’re doing it. 

    There’s no doubt that we live in a society of consumerism, so it’s no surprise that so many people fall into the habit of impulse shopping. 

     

    You’re bored

    Have you ever been bored, so you pull up the website for your favorite store? You swear you’re just going to look, but of course, you end up grabbing a few things. 

    Or maybe you have some time to kill, so you decide to stop at Target. And if you’re anything like me, you can always find something at Target you’re convinced that you need!

     

    You’re emotional

    Yeah, I’ve definitely been guilty of emotional spending. I used to have days where I had a really bad day, and after work drove straight to my favorite store to distract myself from whatever had gone wrong. 

    Emotional spending is a real thing. And it’s not just used to counteract negative emotions either. I think we’ve all been in a situation where we celebrate exciting news by spending money. Often it’s the first thing we think to do!

     

    You have FOMO

    I think we can all relate to this reason for impulse buying. You’ve seen something that everyone else has or that everyone else is doing, and you don’t want to be the only one to miss out. 

     

    You want to save money

    This one seems counterproductive, and it totally is, but it’s also a justification that a lot of us use for impulse spending!

    If you see something you like and it’s on major sale, it’s easy to convince yourself that it would be irresponsible to pass up such an amazing deal.

     

    How to Stop Impulse Spending

     

    Make a Budget and Stick To It

    I talk a lot about budgeting on this site and without a doubt think that everyone should have a budget. But you have to do more than that.

    There’s a big difference between people who have a budget and people who have a budget and stick to it. 

    To be clear, I have definitely been the person who has a budget but does not stick to it! 

    Unfortunately, there’s no secret hack to help you stick to your budget other than discipline. You just have to force yourself to do it. 

    However, the other tips on this list should help as well! 

    Related Articles:

     

    Treat Yourself with Planned Purchases

    You might think this tip is counterproductive since the goal of this article is to help us to spend less money. But I promise this works. 

    You know how super-restrictive diets are almost impossible to stick to because when you restrict yourself too much, you end up overcorrecting the other way. And by that, I mean totally blowing the diet. 

    Well, budgets are pretty much the same. 

    If you restrict yourself too much, you’re going to eventually end up breaking the budget. And you’ll probably go way overboard. 

    But by treating yourself in small ways and building that into your budget, you’re scratching the shopping itch without blowing your budget. 

     

    Focus on Your Financial Goals

    My partner and I love to eat out. If we’re going to blow the budget anywhere, it’s going to be on eating out. 

    The one thing that has been most effective for us to stop impulsively going out to eat several times per week is putting our financial goals front and center. 

    We bought a big whiteboard and hung it in our living area. On it, we wrote our financial goal.

    We also included a budget tracker to show how close we are to our financial goal, and a budget tracker showing how much we have spent eating out that month.

    Every day, we are looking at our financial goal. And every time we impulsively go out to eat, we have to mark it on the board so that we’re hyperaware that we’re choosing to put that money toward eating out instead of our financial goal. 

    And it’s actually worked!

    Figure out a way to put your financial goal front and center so you’re constantly reminded of the opportunity cost of impulse buying. 

    Related Article: 8 Important Habits of Financially Successful Women

     

    Stick to a Waiting Period

    Create a rule for yourself where every time you want to buy something, you have to wait at least one week before pulling the trigger. 

    Chances are, that feeling that you absolutely have to have it will have dissipated during that week. You may not want it at all anymore. 

    If the week passes and you do still feel like you must have it, then it’s time to revisit the budget.

    Can you fit it into your budget for this month, or do you need to set aside money for it for a few months before you can pull the trigger?

     

    Unsubscribe From Email Lists

    For the longest time, I felt like it was super-practical to be on the email list for all of my favorite stores. Then I would know when they were having a sale, and that’s the only time I would let myself shop. 

    But here’s the problem. Stores know that people do this, and so they are always having a sale

    Meaning I was constantly being given opportunities to impulse shop and feel like I was saving money.

    It’s better to unsubscribe from those emails and remove the temptation altogether. If you have a specific item that you want to buy, then you can just set an alert on that one item to be notified when it goes on sale.

    Related Article: 25 Creative Ways to Save Money

     

    Unfollow on Social Media

    If you follow many influencers on social media, then you’re probably constantly being marketed to. Seriously, every day some blogger is popping into my Instagram stories or feed to talk about some new beauty product or clothing item that they’re obsessed with and that we all absolutely need to have. 

    It can be a lot. And if I was still an impulse spender, I would probably be spending all of my money on things I don’t need. 

    If you struggle with impulse spending when you hear about new products from bloggers and influencers, then it’s probably time to start unfollowing. 

    At the very least, mute those influencers during specific times of the year (i.e. during the Nordstrom sale – better yet just stay off social media during that week). 

     

    Don’t Shop When You’re Emotional

    I mentioned earlier that emotional shopping is one of the reasons that many of us impulse shop. So the obvious answer, of course, is to just stop emotional spending. 

    Easier said than done, I know. 

    The best thing to do is to make a plan for what you’ll do instead of shopping when you’re emotional. 

    For example, I have found that journaling is one of the best ways to get out of a negative mindset. If I’m having a rough day, I feel so much better after writing it out. 

    So instead of shopping when I’m emotional, I write. 

    Other things you can do instead might include meditating, working out, or talking to a friend or partner. 

    Related Article: The 7 Best Personal Finance Books to Read in 2020

     

    Avoid Using Credit Cards

    If you’re an impulse shopper, you need to avoid credit cards at all costs!

    Credit cards are a super-effective way of being able to impulsively spend money without feeling the hit right away. 

    It’s so easy to pretend it doesn’t really “count” because the money isn’t actually leaving your bank account. 

    If you have ever made this argument to yourself, it’s time to hide your credit cards. Seriously. 

    I used to make this argument to myself a lot, and now I’m paying off the credit card debt from that time in my life.

    Switching to only using a debit card made a huge difference because I was limited as to how much money I could spend, and was forced to prioritize my spending between impulse spending or more important things. 

     

    Shop With a Friend

    Let me preface this one by saying that this is a situation where you really need to know your friends and what influence they have on you. 

    I can confidently say that I’m going to spend less money if I’m shopping with my best friend or my partner. 

    Part of the reason for this is that they don’t spend a lot of money shopping, so I’m more likely to spend less money. 

    Also, they both know me well enough to tell me if I’m going overboard or buying things I don’t really need. 

    Related Article: 38 Personal Finance Tips to Help You Master Your Money

     

    Shop Online for Necessities

    One thing I have found to be really effective for limiting my impulse spending is just to stop going into the stores that tempt me and order things online instead. 

    For example, let’s say I’m out of dry shampoo and need to run into Target to get more. Now I’m in the Target beauty department and can be tempted by everything else in the Target beauty department. 

    But instead, I can buy the same dry shampoo for the same price and get free shipping via the Target or Amazon app, and I’m not putting myself in a situation to be tempted by anything else. 

    Not only am I saving myself the time it takes to drive to Target and back, but I’m also probably saving myself some money. 

     

    Do a No-Spend Month

    So you know how I said most of us are just in the habit of spending, and that’s why we find ourselves making so many impulse purchases?

    I think the best way to get out of that habit is to have a no-spend month. 

    During a no-spend month, you don’t spend money. It’s pretty self-explanatory. This obviously doesn’t apply to necessities such as food, or any toiletries that you might run out of. 

    Most people only think about the benefit of a no-spend month in terms of just that one month. And yes, you’ll definitely save some money that month. 

    But the benefits will last a heck of a lot longer, because you’ll have eliminated the habit of shopping when you’re bored or emotional or having FOMO, and you’ll be less likely to do that kind of spending in the future. 

    Over the course of that month, you’ll have learned to be okay not buying that thing that everyone else is buying. 

    You’ll have found other things to focus on when you’re bored instead of shopping. 

    You’ll have found other ways to deal with negative emotions rather than emotional spending. 

     

    Final Thoughts

    Impulse shopping is obviously a huge problem in our society today. Consumerism is constantly being marketed and advertised to us. 

    But it is possible to get rid of your impulse spending habit. 

    It’s not easy, and it’s not always going to feel great. But I promise it will feel amazing when you are reaching your financial goals because you didn’t spend money on things you didn’t really need! 

    I’ve had my fair share of struggles with impulse and emotional spending, and the tips I shared in this post have helped me immensely. 

    I hope they help you too! 

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