Avoid Impulsive Buying

To Maintain a Budget it is Important to Steer Clear of Unnecessary Spending

Today's society is a “see, want, buy” kind of system. Many people have the incredible ability to dream up all kinds of things they must have, and if they can find it, they buy it even if they can't afford it. With this kind of creative shopping also comes creative financing.

One might rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, by skimping in one financial area to splurge in another. Unfortunately, where possessions abound, so does debt. Many who purchase what they want don't technically have the funds to pay for it, and they often find themselves with an unmanageable load of credit bills. What they may not have realized before the purchase was that the interest paid on items bought with credit will invariably exceed the original purchase price, making that purchase a financially unwise decision.

Granted, there are exceptions to this. For example, when a major appliance fails, such as a refrigerator or water heater, credit may be needed to purchase the replacement. Or perhaps there is a shortage of cash this month and some of the groceries need to be put on the credit card. There are times when having credit available can be a necessity. But more often than not, purchases are made that are not necessary, like a big screen television or a car stereo system. Even the latest Indiana Jones movie can be an irrational purchase for someone who is late on their power bill.

There are two things to remember when getting a handle on the spending. As a general rule, don't buy something that can't be paid with cash. Also, don't be so quick to fritter petty cash. It is important to think through every financial decision, but especially the ones that involve small change purchases. Picking up a coffee on the way to work is a great treat once in awhile, and a couple dollars doesn't seem like much. But when it's a couple dollars every day, it can add up to $50 or more a month.

There's an old saying: if everyone takes a bite, an elephant can be consumed. The same is true for one's finances. If there is a little bite into the finances here and there, pretty soon the entire budget is consumed. And less cash on hand can lead to more credit purchases.

From hot tubs to weed eaters, and from staple guns to donuts, every purchase is worth an evaluation. Before money is spent, regardless of whether it is with cash, debit card, credit card or a check, there are a few important questions that individuals should ask themselves:

  • Is this item really needed?
  • If so, can the purchase wait?
  • Is there a comparable or even a used item that costs less?
  • Can the item be borrowed rather than purchased?

  • It takes very little time to evaluate these areas, but it can make a world of difference when it comes to fritter spending. It also can help break the habit of impulsiveness that is so prevalent in today's society. For believers, it is just as important, if not more so, to manage one's finances with accountability and frugality.

    Written by: Amy Miller