The Trap Of Impulse Buying
and my spending is made primarily with credit cards whenever possible. To control your impulsive behaviour, you need a new habit to replace this destructive habit. Credit cards are just financial tools. It is not dangerous until its users become reckless.
Now, imagine the process of considering a purchase. What’s going on in your mind at that particular moment? You might be thinking:
The discount is only for this weekend. I don’t want to miss it. It is the last piece! The next person who sees it is going to grab it. I have never seen such a deep discount before.
Well, all these are the marketing gimmicks of messing your mind with scarcity and urgency so you will not be rational. A person who can’t control will take out his credit card. Even if he doesn’t have a card, he will withdraw cash from the nearest ATM to make that purchase.
Should you suppress your desires when you get an urge to buy? It is common sense, but it doesn’t feel right, does it? You want something, but you suppress your feeling towards it. That’s cruel. Now you know that thought process, let’s just add one new habit into that struggle. If done right, then you shouldn’t feel guilty making a purchase, or disappointed of forgoing the opportunity of a sale. whatever works for you, but not too long. The process is to get your mind to stop thinking about the discount, the sales or the feeling of owning an item. Instead, you focus on the practicality. If you are not going to use the thing, it is not going to provide value to you. So it is not going to make you happier by owning it now. You can come back later to buy it when you need it. The new habit will let your mind cool down.
Let me share my experience. I love to read, coupled with the RM1,000 tax relief of book purchase, I would buy many books when bookstores put up a sale. So each year I would make sure that I use up the maximum tax relief amount plus my wife’s quota. At my reading speed, I can finish only 1-2 books a month. But compare it to the rate of my purchase, I often have dozens of books unread, still wrapped and occupied my limited bookshelf space.
You can imagine that just after a few years, I have close to a hundred books piled up. The trouble comes when I move to a new home. That had happened a few times. So instead of gaining knowledge and pleasure through reading, the books has caused me more hassle. The things I first thought of as assets became liabilities. So I have refrained from this impulsive book hoarding many years back. I will make sure I’ve done reading the books before I get the new ones.
Be practical and make wise and prudent spending decisions. You can always come back after 2-3 days and buy it if you want to. At least that way you’ll be safe from committing mistakes and be drowned in a pool of guilt. Use that time to do some research too if the items you are eyeing on cost a bomb.