Resisting the Urge to Splurge
Temptation can strike at any moment.
One minute, I'm hunting down items on my grocery list, and the next I'm sniffing around the cheese counter. I'll be swinging my water bottle as I walk to the office, and suddenly find myself inside Starbucks. I pass by a coworker in a cute outfit, and my shopping cart has filled itself at Bloomingdales.com. (Delete, delete, delete!)
Sometimes it seems that budgets are made only to be broken. On the path to frugality, I often trip over an adorable pair of patent pumps. Psychologist April Benson, author of To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop, says that the same techniques she uses for her patients who are compulsive overshoppers also can be applied to everyday temptations. Rule No. 1: Question yourself.
Benson has an arsenal of them at the ready. Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it? Do I have something like it already?
By the time you've remembered all of them -- not to mention answered them -- the urge to splurge will likely have passed, she says. You can also just clear your mind, count to 10 and breathe. The key part is putting distance between the impulse and the action. The farther you separate them, the less likely you are to indulge.
“You want to do something to slow down the process,” she said.
Sometimes, your honest answers may lead you to make the purchase. Benson says this is a sign that the product is actually useful, even if it's outside your budget. Other times, we just slip up.
Don't beat yourself up. Benson compared staying on a budget to dieting. We don't always follow the rules, but we can always resolve to start fresh the next day.
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