Stretching Cents: Impulse Buys

Today I want to touch on a very important aspect of saving money: blowing it.
You want to save money and live smart, but nobody enjoys feeling restrained by circumstances. And the more restrained you feel, the more likely you are to make an impulse buy (or several) to feel empowered again.

And in our consumerist culture, where marketing rules all, we are bombarded with images and incentives to impulse buy everywhere.

What's a savvy shopper to do?

If you plan on setting aside, say, $20 per week for impulse buys, you can satisfy both your budget and your need to feel empowered and free.

My favorite way of doing this is to take that impulse buy money and put it in a special area of my wallet or change purse. Then, if I see something I want to buy, I reach for that money (and not the debit card where the regular grocery purchase goes). That usually prompts me to think twice: "This is cool, but is it worth my $20??"

As a result, happily, I tend to blow my wad less on People Magazine and gum, and more on Goodwill clothes and used books.

Of course, the first thing you have to do is budget to the dime so you know how much you have to play with....but then, planning on impulse buys is a great way to keep yourself happy without damaging your ability to make ends meet.

*Most of these images are not my images, and are used to present a visual correlation to ideas. Please don't sue me. :)

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