A good friend of mine was discussing the weather with me, yea really…and now that spring has finally sprung around here (Utah is a couple month behind), she was telling me all the things they plan to do to their home and yard this year. I instantly mentioned how costly landscaping is ..hey I write a personal finance blog, what do you expect 🙂 ..and she told me, “Yea, my husband and I have to leave our wallets in the car when we go to such and such hardware store so we don’t buy anything we shouldn’t be buying”
I made a mental note of that and thought, that is a great idea! So, the leave wallet in the car savings method was born, at least in my mind.
You go to a store and leave you wallet in the car. Therefore you have no way of buying anything until you return to your car and get your wallet. Personally, that would be enough for me to just get in the car and drive away unless the purchase was completely necessary and already planned for. A few months back when I was quite a bit heavier, the walk alone in the heat of spring would have caused me to have to get in the car and take a breather anyway 🙂
The best part about this strategy is it forces you to think about what you are buying, which is not a common practice among most people. Is this purchase worth the effort to go out to my car and get my money, walk all the way back in and pay for it? Is it worth the shame? My wife get’s pretty embarrassed (don’t ask me, I have no idea 🙂 ) when she bumps into a store employee more than once during a shopping trip, I can’t imagine what she would feel like if she bumped into them, coming into the store twice in the same visit.
Not many things are worth that unless you actually plan on the purchase, and go to the store specifically to get it. I certainly wouldn’t march back and forth for a pack of gum.
So this system eliminates the possibility of impulse buying even on big purchases as it creates and takes the same amount of effort to buy anything.
Of course there is one flaw, when you get your wallet from the car, you may see something you like on your way out, or at the hardware store it could even be on the way in which is usually worse as those items outside are high ticket.
To eliminate or at least deter you from impulse buying a little bit more, what if we coupled this method with the sticky note reminder method? I can’t recall where I read this one, so if you read is some place else, drop me a comment and I’ll add it in here, but some people just put a sticky note on their credit cards that say something like, “Do you really need that purchase?” or ever something as loud as “DON’T DO IT!!!” and just seeing the note makes them think twice about the purchase they are about to make.
I guess it all comes down to your priorities though. Would any of these methods stop a shopping addict? I doubt it. But for those of us that are recovering addicts or simply are trying to get a better handle on our spending, simple reminders like this can be very effective.
What little tricks and methods do you use to discourage impulse spending?
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