If your bank account frequently falls victim to your impulse spending habit, I want to encourage you to avoid that instant gratification by instituting the 30-day list.
A couple days ago we talked about de-cluttering and yesterday I gave you some tips for curbing impulse spending. But here’s the problem with de-cluttering…we can declutter to our hearts content, but if we can’t find a way to curb impulse spending, it’ll just come right back. Think about it, all that stuff clogging up your garage was once something you “had to have;” and now, you’re wondering how to get rid of it.
So we must learn to fight our tendency to collect clutter by not buying the stuff in the first place. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating a 30-day list.
The idea is that every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary — and no, that new thing that promises to make your life easier isn’t absolutely necessary – it goes on the list. Write down the name of the item, the date it was added, and there it will stay for 30 days. It may seem a bit hard-core, but I suggest that you and your family make a rule never to buy items — with the except of necessities – unless they’ve done their time on the 30-day list. And here’s the craziest thing, most of the time we end up losing the urge to buy the item…saving ourselves from useless spending and clutter.
Control Impulse Spending with The 30-Day List
Here’s how it can work:
- Anytime you feel the urge to spend on anything other than necessities (i.e. excess clothing, another pair of shoes, the newest techno gadget, or a new car) force yourself to stop. I mean…even if you’re in the middle of the store, already holding the item in your hand, put it back on the shelf and leave the store immediately.
- On the other hand, if you are shopping online and you feel the urge to spend, close the laptop, take a deep breath, drink some water, and then go take a walk outside.
- When you return home from the store or your walk, use My 30-Day List and write down the name of the item you want to purchase, the price of the item, and the date you placed the item on the list.
- Print your 30-day list and post it somewhere in plain view… beside the family calendar, on the door of the refridgerator, or on a bulletin board in your office.
- Now, for the next 30 days, you will need to consider whole-heartedly whether or not you really want to spend the money on purchasing the item. But no matter what, don’t buy it until after the 30 day time period. It’s also important that you use this time to also research free alternatives for the item on the list.
- If, at the end of the 30 days, the desire to purchase the item is still there, then by all means purchase it. But here’s another rule, when you go to buy the item, you must use cash.
After a few times of using My 30 Day List, you will be amazed at it’s effectiveness. I find that it works so well because in all actuality we’re not having to deny ourselves…we’re only delaying the indulgence. The implementation of the list has another advantage in that it does give you the chance to research and compare the item you want. This alone has saved my family and I a lot of trouble.
We don’t always remember to follow the 30-day list, but I can say this…when we do, it works! It’s crazy because most of the time the urge to buy the item is long gone before we even get home (and when shopping on the Internet, sometimes the urge leaves just by going through the online check out process). Then there’ s the occasion when the urge is really strong for a few days, then suddenly it goes away altogether.
It’s unusual that we decide to purchase the item after 30 days.
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: Begin today using the 30-day list for non-essential purchases.
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