5 Proactive Saving Strategies for When You Feel the Impulse to Spend

When you’re focused on sticking to your budget, spending temptations seem to pop up out of nowhere like sharks around feeding time.

The fact is, though, that you’re probably not actually being tempted any more than usual to spend. It’s that you’ve become hyper vigilant about where every dollar is going.

Wherever the urge to spend comes from, curb it and stay within your budget with these simple proactive saving strategies.

Proactive Step #1: Cool Down Before Making Extra Purchases

Establish a cool-down period for yourself as a buffer between your “gotta-have-it” emotions and actually going through with the payment.

Depending on your personality, you may want to wait 24 hours, two weeks or even 30 days before purchasing a non-essential item, like a new handbag or kitchen gadget. If the urge is still there after that time has passed, go for it! If not, step up your savings game by putting whatever amount of money you would have spent on that impulse purchase straight into your savings account.

Proactive Step #2: Get Rid of Retailer Emails

Many of us sign up for a retailer’s emails right when we’re about to make a purchase in order to receive a coupon, or simply because we forget to uncheck the sign-up box. But then we never unsubscribe, flooding our inbox with endless spending opportunities.

Go on a retailer email “purge” by mass unsubscribing. Scroll through your inbox and open up one email from each company. Find the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom, and go from there. Think that might take too long? Check out this trick to seriously cut down the time it takes to unsubscribe.

Proactive Step #3: Filter the Ads out of Your Life

Unfortunately, retailer emails are just one way tempting ads get into your life. Do the following to decrease the number of ads you’ll see each day:

  • Institute digital-free days at home: One day a week, avoid turning on anything digital once you get home. Imagine how many ads you won’t see if you’re not looking at screens all day. Plus, digital detoxes come with a ton of benefits. If you need motivation, check out this list of reasons why by Forbes.
  • Use your DVR: Many companies build DVRs into their cable packages. Minimize the ads in your life by simply fast-forwarding through the commercials. What a time saver, too! Or, permanently skip ads by opting to cut the cord and ditch your cable package.

Proactive Step #4: Leverage Alerts

Your bank likely allows you to set up a number of free alerts that can help remind you to keep your spending in check. For example, you can get an alert if your account balance dips below a certain threshold or if your total spending for the month exceeds a set amount. Apps like HelloWallet can give you periodic alerts about whether or not you’re on track with your budget.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and let financial goals fall to the wayside. Automatic alerts can be a helpful reminder to stay on track.

Proactive Step #5: Delete Linked Cards

It’s surprising how just a little bit of hassle can give your brain enough space to rethink a purchase. When online shopping, debit and credit cards linked to your account can lead to one-click purchases, which are very dangerous to your budget. To promote mindfulness, don’t allow your favorite online stores to save your card information.

Using any one of these proactive steps as saving strategies can help you to stay within your budget. The more you can implement, the fewer chances those spending temptation sharks will have to take a bite out of your savings.

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