4 Ways to Get the Impulse Monkey Off Your Back
If you’ve been tracking your sending using a Spending Journal – you have been tracking your spending, right? – you’ll start to see patterns in how you use your money. Do you shop when you’re a little mad? A little sad? A little glad? Are there days of the week or month that you’re more prone to drop big bucks? Have you identified when the Impulse Monkey climbs on your back?
One of the big benefits of watching what you do with your money is being able to identify your areas of weakness. Once you know you’re walking around with the Impulse Monkey on your back, you can do something about him. He may squeel at you when you’re sad, tired, lonely, or experiencing some other emotion you wish you weren’t. Here’s what you do about him.
1. Avoid places where you can spend money. Whether you’re heading into a shopping mall or a dollar store, if that monkey’s gotcha, you’re going to drop money you’ll wish you hadn’t. If you don’t want to eat the cookies, stay out of the cookie jar. And if you don’t want to spend money, stay out of the stores. Off-line too!
2. When you do go shopping, do it with a list. Whether you’re buying groceries, a birthday present for your brother or a new tablecloth, do not go into a store without a list, and never buy anything that isn’t on your list. You cannot use the excuse, “Well, I’ll only have to waste gas coming back.” Put whatever you think you want on your list, and GO HOME. If you still want it in 48 hours, you can go back for it. I’ll bet you save way more money than you end up spending on a second trip.
3. Leave your credit cards and debit cards at home and only shop with cash. If you don’t have the means to overspend, it’s amazing how much self-control you can show.
4. Make a deal with yourself. Every time you buy something, you must get rid of something. And it has to be a like-for-like exchange. This makes you prioritize. What are you prepared to give up to have that new whatever?