A lot of people in the financial community have begun discussing the recent 30 day method as a way to control impulse spending. The basic idea is very simple in theory but can feel quite difficult to execute.
This article is going to go over everything you need to know about the 30 day rule, impulse spending, and how to get closer to your savings goals and further from overspending.
What is the 30 day rule?
The basic tenant of the 30 day rule is that you take at least 30 days before making a purchase. The idea behind this is that you then have four weeks to consider whether you actually want the item or not, and you will certainly not be accused of impulse spending at that point. If, after 30 days, you still want it – great! If not, congratulations, impulse eliminated.
Simple as that. However, simple doesn’t mean easy by any stretch of the imagination, and be prepared for the hard work of avoiding the tempting immediacy most purchases can offer.
Understanding impulse spending – what is it and why is it dangerous?
In saying you’re trying to avoid impulse spending though, what are we really talking about? The term impulse spending refers to spending done based on gut feelings, or grabbing something unplanned. The reason these purchases are so dangerous is because they always feel small at the time, but they add up when we start to make several throughout the month.
What’s more, impulse spending on small items like magazines and sweets only serves to set you up to be an impulsive spender on larger items like a new television or video game you “have to have”. This spending adds up extremely quickly and is often the bulk of a surprise credit card bill.
Implementing the 30 day rule
If you’ve been reading so far and you’re ready to try it, consider the following tips in implementing the 30 day method. Remember, it’s not going to feel easy, but it may well be worth it for your bank account!
Dealing with temptation
Temptations will arise, it’s a fact of life. So when temptations to spend arise, remind yourself of why you decided to try this in the first place, and that it’s only a few weeks before you can make that purchase.
Then take a moment and figure out why it was so tempting. What was it that you were wanting in the moment you almost made that purchase? Was it the item itself or an emotion?
Track the month in a notebook
Take these thoughts and jot them down so you have something to point back to. This allows you to start identifying patterns that may be influencing your impulse spending, which can be a huge step towards dealing with these patterns rather than giving in to them.
Determine if the purchase is a want or need, and why you want it
Needs are things you must have, the basic essentials to move forward. Food, shelter, nappies, things of that nature are must haves. Lollies, magazines, luxury items, those are wants (as is anything that is not a need). It’s fine to purchase either a want or a need, but you should always go into it with your eyes open. So, if what you’re desiring is a want, what is it that’s leading you to want it? What are the pros and cons of getting it? Is it worth it?
As the 30 days draw to a close, think again
Is the purchase still something that you want or was it a passing fancy? Did you learn anything about why you wanted it in the first place that you can apply to future situations? By taking the time to analyze what you’ve been looking at over the last few weeks you’ll be well on your way to making a sound purchase or pass decision, and understanding your financial patterns!
Methods set up to help you limit your impulse spending, like the 30 day rule, can be extremely helpful tools in identifying your shopping urges and controlling them. Your bank account definitely does a lot better when you refuse to indulge every urge, and chances are you’re mentally feeling better too!