The 3 Practical Hacks You Need As A Single Adult To Deal With Impulse Buying

Today, let’s talk about impulse buying, and how you can deal impulse buying as a millennial or single adult.

Impulse buying: is when you often buy things because you’ve just got this urgent feeling or desire to buy.

And although being a single adult has its perks and benefits, impulse buying is one of those habits that make being a single adult a very tricky life stage to be in.

This is even delicate more so because, as a single adult, you pretty much have no one telling you how to best spend your money, like you would tend to have if you were married.

Right now, we’re in the second paragraph of Page 36, under the title ‘Single-Adult Trouble Spots’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.

And here’s my lesson for the day:

As a single adult, you’ll need to keep paying closer attention to your impulse buying habits. Why? Because no one’s doing it for you.

Have you found yourself in any of these situations?

  • You just visited your friend, and his 90-inch plasma TV makes your 55-inch Sony TV look like a child’s play, and you just can’t wait to ‘upgrade yours’…
  • You just finished a group project with your work mates, everyone’s tired, and y’all just decided to grab boxes of pizza for yourselves, because you’ve earned it…
  • You’re feeling lazy one Friday evening, and you just have to order from your favorite Chinese place…
  • Your new date wants you both to go to this seafood place, where meals tend to go over $200 per person, way over your budget, but you just can’t let this ‘opportunity’ slip away?…
  • Your friends just decided on a whim to fly out to Destin or Sanibel Island beach in Florida or Orange Beach or Gulf State Park in Alabama, and be there all weekend?…
  • You just waked past the Home & Kitchen section at Costco, and you just have to get this huge 6-slice Toaster Oven with Air Fry, because it’s so elegant and it’s ‘such a great deal’…

Truth is: we’ve all been in situations like this.

Where, five minutes ago, this item hasn’t even crossed your mind…

… but ten minutes later, you’re already walking past the cashier after checking out with the item, or you just got confirmation email from American for that last-minute airline ticket you just bought.

These are all classic cases of impulse buying, and although each looks like reasonable ways to treat yourself well and better, they could potentially be taking you ten steps backwards in your personal finances, and on your road to financial wealth and freedom.

If impulse buying is such a huge problem for a lot of people, then why aren’t more single adults paying attention to it?

Answer: It’s because these impulse expenses look like you’re rewarding yourself, or creating an ‘escape’ for yourself, and so it feels perfectly right for your mental health, wellness, and physical well-being.

Which is simply not true.

Because here’s the deal: if you’ll resist that urge to make that impulse purchase, and check how you feel about it 24 hours later, you’ll discover that you’ll be thankful you didn’t make that purchase.

Why?

  1. Your budget and personal finances are still perfectly on track, and you aren’t running around trying to look for ways to make more money, put it on your credit cards, or take out loans
  2. You’ll feel no iota of regret, because you’ll discover that not getting that toaster or not going on that vacation didn’t suddenly make you lose your mind or give you heartburns, as you initially thought

And so the question now becomes: how do you consistently resist that urge as part of your personal financial habits, so you can be free from the dangers of impulse buying?

Here goes.

3 Practical Hacks You Can Use To Overcome Impulse Buying As A Single Adult

1. Let your budget control your spending, not the other way around

So here’s the deal: In theory, you and I can have everything we want, and then some more. But practically, that’s just not possible.

Why?

Because well, we don’t own everything. Our time, money, resources, even energy levels are limited. And so, in theory, you can go on that next vacation with your friends and get that toaster oven and order Chinese takeout every Friday and get that 90-inch plasma TV…

… but should you? No, you should not.

And even if you wanted to, you can’t. Yes, you can max out your credit cards, and take out family or bank loans, but if your budget doesn’t say you can buy this item, then you can’t get it, period.

Yes, that’s right – if you’re going to deal with impulse buying, your budget will need to come intro your conversations more often.

For example, you can say:

“Hey John, I’d love to go with y’all to Florida next week for that beach vacation, and I’m sure it’d be blast, but I just can’t find a way to make my budget agree with it – no matter how hard I try.”

In short, that was your long and detailed way of saying: “I checked, and my budget said ‘no’.”

It doesn’t matter how badly you want that cute appliance or vacation, if your budget can’t carry it, then you really can’t have it.

You might try to put it on your credit card time and time again, but if you aren’t able to say “no” to your cravings and urges, then banks and lenders might be the ones to do it for you… which is a situation you do not want to be in.

And so, yes, your budget determines what you need or want. And if the budget tells you “no”, then you’ll need to also say “no” to that impulse, urge, or desire.

But what happens if you really need to make an expensive purchase, say furniture set for $700?

It’s simple, but not easy:

  • Review your budget to see where you can squeeze out money, and determine how much, for example, $30
  • Use the $30 to split the $700 into monthly or regular savings, that is, $700 / $30 = 23.33
  • So you’ll need to set aside $30 for approximately 24 months, and then you can have the $700 to get the furniture

Which is the exact opposite of impulse buying… with this “budget and saving” approach, you’ve determined your need, and practically saved up for it, until the time where you can afford it.

So, you practically can buy whatever your heart desires…

… You’ll simply need to find a way to move money from other areas in your budget , so you can save up to get what you desire, in a way that doesn’t hurt your spending and saving goals.

2. Realize this: That urge will pass, and you’d be happy you didn’t listen to it

A lot of the times, we buy on impulse mostly because we feel heavens will fall, if we don’t get item X or Y.

For example, you might think: “If I don’t go on this vacation with my friends, I might snap or go into a depression… or worse, my friends would think I’m stingy and poor; my friends would hate me and would never want to hang out with me… ever.”

In other words, it’s now or never.

But these urges are temporary, and they are called “urges” for a reason. They make you feel things are “urgent”, and you’ll suffer harm if you don’t do them.

But here’s the deal: that urge will pass, if you hold your ground. Don’t cave in.

Simply verbally and loudly say “no”, and keep walking past that aisle at the grocery store… or pick up your phone, and say “no” to your friend who invited you to the vacation, because your budget won’t allow it.

Yes, it’s a urge, and like every urge, it’ll hold you for those 5 to 10 seconds, or even minutes, hoping you’d cave in and succumb to its desires.

But as a single adult, please realize this: that urge will pass, and when it does, you’ll be so happy you didn’t listen to it.

3. No one’s coming to get you – it’s up to you

If you’re finding it hard to say “no” to impulse buying, and you’re often rationalizing every expense, big or small…

… then hear this: no one’s coming to get you, and so it’s up to you.

If you keep buying stuff, maxing out your credit cards, and you keep getting stuff to impress yourself or your friends…

… please note that as a single adult, it’s your mess, and you’ll need to clean it up by yourself.

You’re a single adult, and while there are a lot of perks that come with being single…

… the flip side is that you now have a greater responsibility to consistently say “no” to impulse buying.

It’s your money, it’ll be your mess; and remember, your “vacation-friend” or your “90-inch plasma TV pal”, or the Chinese takeout place or the Costco cashier won’t be there to save you… when poop hits the fan, those expenses pile up, and you’re eyeballs deep in bills to pay.

Not even the government, or your family, or your siblings, or Congress can save you.

Even worse, if you mess up now, you’ll be making it financially harder for your spouse when you get married. Think about that for a minute.

It’s all up to you.

Having this much control gives you greater responsibility, no doubt, but it also gives you more peace and calm, knowing that you’re the captain of this financial ship – your financial ship.

It’s all on you – you’ve got this, but you’ll need to choose to shun impulse buying.

How?

  • By letting your budget control your spending, and not the other way around.
  • By knowing that: those 5-second urges will pass, and you’d be happy you didn’t listen to those urges and desires in the first place
  • By realizing that: your finances is on you; it’s all on you, and no one’s coming to get you

Remember:

As a single adult, you’ll need to keep paying closer attention to your impulse buying habits. Why? Because no one’s doing it for you.

That’s all for today, my friend. We’ll continue in the fourth paragraph on Page 36 of the book tomorrow.

-DD

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