A report released by BMO last week reveals some obvious but devastating facts about the spending habits of Canadians. It seems we’re very good at buying stuff we don’t need. According to the study, Canadians spend an average of $3,720 annually on such non-necessities. We’re impulsive! But not in the good, do-something-fun-and-liberating way. Our most common impulse purchases are clothes, dining out, shoes, books, magazines and movies.
Of the 59% who report making impulse purchases, 52% regret these purchases after the fact. That’s a lot of regret. How to curb it? Simple changes can make a huge difference when it comes to stamping out impulse purchases. Here are a few:
1. Never buy an impulse item right away. If you spot something in a window that makes your heart skip a beat, wait an hour and see if your heart is still aflutter. If it is, seek medical attention. Or buy the stupid dress already.
2. Avoid impulse temptation. If you know you have a weakness for vintage posters, don’t go into the vintage poster shop. This applies to online shopping as well. Browsing is a gateway drug to impulse shopping. Do what you have to do to avoid temptation.
3. Make dinner at home. Dining figures high on the list of impulse purchases. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy good food and company, but be mindful that eating out is often an extremely impulsive affair, and one that totals up to large sums at the end of the month.
4. Pay yourself first. Divert necessary monies to bills, TFSAs and other savings plans at the beginning of each month. If there’s discretionary spending money left over after, you can be impulsive on occasion, knowing you have covered your essentials first.
5. Don’t buy shoes. Honestly. How many pairs of shoes do you need?