Have you ever had that feeling of intense guilt wash over you after making an impulse purchase?
That new pair of shoes, that sushi for lunch, the quick spot of online shopping before bedtime, the new car even… Shopping has become an accepted part of social culture. As a whole, we humans have become addicted to the thrill of buying the things we want, when we want them.
Unfortunately, because those purchases are not always well thought out, buyers remorse can hit moments after you’ve surrendered your card details.
Do you ever ask yourself, why did I just buy that? Shouldn’t I save money instead?
Here’s the mystery solved…
Why did I just buy that?
Your brain is to blame. The science behind is, seeing something you want activates the reward centre of the brain, in particular the nucleus accumbens.
This same patch of tissue is active when you receive something exciting like delicious food or money. It signals pleasure and happiness. To negate that pleasure state, the part of the brain that signifies pain kicks into action when it sees the price tag.
People who are well versed in shopping or have an instant need for gratification can easily overwrite the pain factor in favour of the pleasure. But people who are more thrifty tend to focus on the pain trigger and are able to shut down their buying impulses.
So how can you let the pain centre take control when it comes to your spending tendencies? Here’s how you can take control of your brain…
Tips to curb spending & save money
Knowing what causes your spending impulses will not automatically fix them. You need to modify your behaviour along with it. These are our top tips…
Track your spending
Counting the dollars you spend will give you more awareness of where your money is going. It can be confronting to see all of your purchases written down.
Seeing all your outgoings in one place can help you make more conscious decisions when it comes to spending.
Track your saving
If you’re someone who can never afford the big things than you need, then tracking your saving is a positive way to help you save money for the things that matter.
Congratulating yourself for being able to save money and sticking to a savings plan is a key part in changing your spending habits long term.
Think about the purchase
Don’t think about how much you desperately want the item, but think about how much you’ll use it. If it’s something that will be destined for the back of your wardrobe, then save your money for something more worthwhile. It could go into a holiday fund, or something similar.
Plan your spending
Instead of rushing out to buy something the second funds hit your account, add your planned purchase to a list that you can review once a month. You may find you don’t want the item any more when you return to your list.
Also, plan everyday spending like your bills and your groceries. Some companies will offer you a discount if you pay your bills by a certain date, so make sure you never miss those dates.
Planning your meals for the week and shopping from a list are both great ways to cut down your grocery bill.
Declutter your life
Having an annual declutter makes you aware of what you have and the amount of items you are no longer using. It can help you to be more conscious when you see what you are regularly throwing away.
All the planning in the world can crumble away if you are confronted with the perfect item that you must have right now!
If you find yourself in this situation then regulate the desire by asking yourself, ‘Do I need it?’, ‘Can I afford it?’, ‘Have I looked to see if I can find it cheaper elsewhere?’
If you can’t answer yes to all three questions then walk away for now.
Changing your spending habits is not something that will happen overnight. But if you become more conscious of your needs over your wants, then you’ll begin to see more $dollars$ in the bank and less frivolous items cluttering up your house.
Start now to save money and gain more space in your home!