Have you ever walked by a store or a fast food joint and thought “I have a bit of money in my budget, I’m going to spend it” and then gone in and spent the last bit of money in your budget, only to leave filled with regret because you really didn’t need or want what you bought? It’s a problem we all face, which is why leaving your credit or debit cards at home is a great step to take if you’re trying to stick to your budget.
If you don’t have the means to spend money while you’re out, then you’re definitely not going to be spending money!
What will happen if you leave your cards at home is you’ll see something you want, think “I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW” and then hurry home to get your cards to make the purchase. By the time you get home, you’ll have had some time to think through the purchase and calm down a bit, which will allow you to figure out if you truly need what you wanted to buy.
If you leave your cards at home, you won’t be able to impulsively buy something on the spot, or be pressured by a salesperson into buying something you’re eyeing.
Giving yourself the time to think a purchase through is often the only thing you really need to do in order to determine if buying what you wanted is actually a good idea. I find that my worst purchases are the ones I make impulsively. Impulse purchases are what make my budget fall apart and they are what trouble me the most on a day to day basis.
For example, today I woke up and was thinking about what I had planned to eat for the day. I was going to make a chicken breast and put it on a spinach salad, but then I started to think about the shawarma shop down the street and how great of a meal a chicken shawarma combo with crispy fries and cold Coke would be. Luckily, I was still in bed when I was thinking this and by the time I was ready to leave, I realized that I had spent the money getting the ingredients for my salad, I really didn’t need to have the shawarma and fries and I’ll just pocket the $10 I would have spent and make my salad as I planned. Side note: the salad was delicious.
Time is the best mediator in your mind when you’re thinking about making a purchase. If I was out with my credit card, I would’ve walked in and bought the food, no problem, but since I had to take the time to get ready to go out and buy the food I was able to give myself the time to think through my decision.
There are situations where you don’t need to leave your cards at home, like if you’re going grocery shopping (make the list ahead of time) or if you’re going out to pickup something specific. You need to make sure that you stick to your own policies and only buy what you set out to buy, but it’s definitely better to bring your cards in those situations.
Any way that I can eliminate temptations to buy something unneeded is good and leaving my credit cards and debit cards at home is an effective way. I definitely encourage you to try this as well! Let me know what you think of this strategy – does it work for you? Does it not work? What did you stop yourself from buying because you weren’t able to purchase on the spot? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, eh!