Are you a spender or a saver? Most of us are a bit of both, but wish we could manage to put a bit more money by for a rainy day.
New research from Leeds Building Society has revealed that three quarters of Brits have an overdraft, with more than half of these people going into the red every month.
This is despite the fact that millions of us would, in theory, like to be saving up a deposit on a house or flat or putting money by for retirement.
However, if you find that you keep having shopping sprees that you can’t really afford, there are ways to boost your self-control. Here are seven tips from consultant psychologist and author of Willpower for Dummies, Dr Frank Ryan, to help spenders become savers.
Stop and wait
If you come across a spending opportunity, whether online or while out shopping, aim to distract yourself. The impulse to buy something is usually short lived, and can dissipate after five or ten minutes.
Know your triggers
Think about the last time you bought something you didn’t really need or spent more than you could afford. Note the time, place and how you were feeling. Were you tired and stressed, or happy and excited? These are your ‘high risk’ situations. Think ahead and anticipate when you might be in a high-risk situation, and make a plan for it.
See also: How your personality affects the way you save
See also: Do we need to be stressed into saving for the future?
Ask ‘is it worth it?’
Think about all those times you’ve bought non-essential items and ask yourself how long does that good feeling last? It will make you feel good now, but later, you are just paying an extra monthly bill or larger credit card payment.
A simple and effective way of buying only what you need and nothing else, is by making decisions in advance. Always make a list before you go shopping, whether it’s for food or clothes. This way you’ll remember the items you actually need, and will be less likely to make the wrong decisions and buy things you don’t need. In turn this will preserve your willpower.
Removing yourself completely from the tempting environment is often necessary to simply avoid spending at all! Over a four-week period, limit yourself to only one shopping trip. When you do go shopping plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going for. Avoid browsing as you’ll only end up being tempted to spend more than you budgeted for.
If what you’re buying is adding to your credit card bill, that’s borrowing, not spending. If you have a credit card, try leaving it at home and just withdraw cash when you arrive at the shop, or use cash you already have. If you really do need to buy something on your credit card, always pay it off in full every month.
Every time you make a conscious effort to save, give yourself a small (non-financial) short-term reward. This will give you even more of an incentive to keep saving. You could unwind with a lovely bubble bath, have a movie night in or just enjoy a lovely lie-in on Sunday morning.
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