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You just got your salary and now you’re feeling the itch to spend. You know you’ve been saving for three months to fix that funny sound coming from your car but those red shoes in the shop window will just look so good on you! 

Or you could be mindlessly scrolling your IG, checking out what’s the latest story on My Money Insights when suddenly an IG reel of an influencer who looks like she got her s*it together appears telling you how she just saved RM50 when she bought two new lipsticks from some brand and you’re thinking “I want those lips too!” and clench your left fist while your right hand expertly taps on the brand’s IG feed and sucks you into an impulsive purchase, funny car sounds forgotten.

Then you feel guilty when you drive your car the next morning.

Buyer’s remorse is real. But there are ways to avoid overspending on things you just don’t need.

Make automatic deposits into different savings accounts. These deposits leave you with less available cash in your credit card account account that you might be tempted to spend.

Write a Post-it note to stick on your credit card that lists your spending priorities. The note might say “pause” or “slow down.” This reminder allows you to rethink how you’re spending your money and redirect your spending toward your goals.

Delete your credit card information from your Lazada or Shopee account. This will add a barrier before you check out — you’ll be required to enter your credit card information manually, forcing you to pause and think about the purchases more carefully.

Use a list when you go shopping, both in person and online. This can help you be thoughtful about your purchases and not buy items that fall outside of your main spending priorities.

Use a waiting period rule
Create a rule that before buying anything over a certain amount, such as RM50 or RM100, that you’ll give yourself time to think about it. It could range from an hour to a month, depending on your propensity to splurge. But the longer you can wait the better.

A good rule of thumb is to give yourself at least 24 hours to decide if buying something is a need, or just a random impulse purchase, by “sleeping on it.” That allows enough time for your impulse to settle down so you can approach the purchase with a clear mind if you really do need it.

If you’re shopping in a brick and mortar store and find something that you think you can’t live without, take a picture of it and its price. You can revisit the item after your waiting period has expired and even use the information to do comparison shopping online.

Calculate an item’s value in time
Since a spending impulse is often emotional, engaging the logical part of your brain is a powerful way to stop it. One tactic is to think about how much time it would take you to earn what an item costs.

For example, if you earn RM25 an hour after taxes, buying a RM250 suit costs you 10 hours of work. Is it worth the equivalent of a long workday? Only you can decide. Being a more logical shopper can instantly change your mindset so you think more rationally and put the brakes on an impulse purchase.

Reevaluate what you already own

If you’re a compulsive shopper, you probably have a lot of stuff, such as a closet full of clothes or a garage full of gadgets. So, instead of buying the next item that you probably don’t need, reevaluate what you already have.

Sometimes paring down is the key to figuring out what you really use so you can find more satisfaction in those items instead of accumulating more. I’m a big believer in buying fewer, better quality things.

Only shop with a clear head
Be sure to notice when and why you make impulse purchases. Are you sad, stressed, tired, drunk, or all the above?

You’ve probably heard the term “retail therapy.” But there are many better ways to ease stress that don’t involve spending money.

Even just being tired or hungry when you’re shopping can be dangerous. Instead of thinking about a purchase logically, you just load up the cart and buy. Consider putting off shopping until another day when you’re more rested and don’t have a grumbling stomach.

Spending like this can lead to a vicious cycle where you’re upset or stressed and buy something impulsively, then you get stressed further because you bought something impulsively!

Shopping in the evening can be a particularly bad time to make decisions if you’re home alone, or bored. Remember never to shop when you’re restless or having a bad day. 

Think about the last purchase you regret
Before you proceed with clicking the Pay button, think about the last time you made a buying decision that you regret. That may reveal a pattern in your behavior that you want to squash.

Which of these do you think will work for you?

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