You go to the store for some toothpaste and end up with a yellow belt that you’ll never ever wear. I’ve been there (see above) – oh the regret! Here are three simple ways to avoid those items calling out your name:
1. Decide on the why first.
Buying a four-hundred dollar running watch doesn’t make you get up at 6:00 am every morning and hop on a treadmill. That’s because owning an item doesn’t mean actually using it.
“The reason you’re not taking long baths is not because you don’t have the right bath oil, but because you have three kids and no time.” happiness expert Gretchen Rubin argues. “You buy the bath oil as an expression of your desire to change something in your life – but that purchase won’t do it.” It’s best to take action first, buy second.
2. Automate your life.
The more you can automate and rely on services to do the work for you, the easier it will be to avoid impulse purchases. There are a host of services like Peapod, Mint, Netflix, Pandora - and soon Alice too – that make your life easier by allowing you to plan your purchases and finances.
“More than anything else, the psychology of automation is critical to successfully getting control of your finances,” financial guru Ramit Sethi reports. And the less time you’ll spend at the store, and the more time you’ll have to spend on things that do matter.
3. Reclaim your space.
Items that you might use someday tend to just sit around the house. An organized home allows you to have a clear mind so that the next time you’re faced with an item that seems like a “must-have,” you’ll know it most certainly is not.
And if all else fails, just freeze your credit cards. Literally.
What works for you? What habits keep you from buying things you don’t need? How do you avoid impulse purchases?