By the gods, the ways in which this can be a trap are so many and so insidious it can honestly be surprising! The top thought that I've learned to banish from my head as I'm doing any kind of shopping is, "I could probably use that!" Well, sure, I could, peaches! But will I, or will the damn thing just take up more space?
It's usually the latter.
Impulse spending has probably been one of the single most financially damaging things I have done to myself over and over again over the years. It's partly responsible for my credit card debt. It's even one of the reasons that, even though my new job pays so much more than the old, I still haven't caught up my bills (despite having been there for almost 2 months).
For years, deep in the back of my mind, I've wanted to put a chokehold on my spending impulses, but have never completely done so. With the new year here, however, I've decided that it absolutely has to go. I can't keep avoiding the reality that I have to curb my spending in order to gain financial security! On the mundane side of things, I'm going to draft a small set of rules to direct my spending. The first rule is more of a counter-habit, but here is what I have so far:
- When shopping, the automatic response to myself is "No".
- When shopping, a list must be made beforehand.
- The list must contain items that are really needed or have an immediate or near-future purpose that is very clearly defined and will definitely be followed-through on within a week.
- Food eaten out or on delivery must not cause me to exceed the weekly food budget.
On the magical side of things, I am considering a conjuration of Tzaphkiel, governor of the planetary sphere of Saturn, to help me bind my habit.
Not only have I been putting off the quashing of this nasty habit, but the habit itself puts off my financial security, as I'm robbing myself with a million tiny and unnecessary purchases that give my bank account the death of a thousand papercuts. I'm done robbing myself!