Free From Broke strongly recommends that you know what your spending triggers are. Spending triggers are those situations, mindsets, or excuses that increase your tendency to make less-than-wise spending decisions. The ones that are mentioned by name are:
- “I deserve it.”
- “Everyone else has one.”
- “I have this, so I need that.”
- “Hurry! Sale ends soon!”
I can usually see through these kinds of tricks because I’m not driven by envy (most of the time) and don’t usually fall for sale-driven marketing.
But not all the time. Sometimes it seems like my common sense flies out the window — along with my money.
When are you never supposed to go grocery shopping?
A couple of weekends ago I dropped nearly $400 at Costco. Some (over half) of this was planned expenses, but I know at least $100 of this was impulse buying. Shelled pistachios are yummy (and even good for me) but at $10/pound they were pricey. And I didn’t really need a 3-pack of 16GB thumb drives, but there they were in the cart, at $40. Plus a couple of other quasi-want items.
What happened? I remember that I had only gotten a couple of hours of sleep the previous night — bad habit, I know — and that we hadn’t had a good breakfast and lunch.
I tend to overspend when I’m hungry and/or tired. The first one is common: if you’re hungry, you’re already predisposed to thinking about food, which means that everything looks really good and you tend to buy more food.
But what predisposes one to buy more when tired? The only true defense to avoiding the lure of in-store marketing is to avoid going into the store (or the website) but what if that’s not an option? Beyond that, the main defense is a clear head, so that the end caps and brightly-colored packaging don’t persuade you by themselves. When I’m tired, I don’t think as clearly, and I get persuaded by more of the (many) options that are put before my eyes.
So going to Costco hungry and tired was a really, really bad move on my part. It would be much better all-around if I just had a good lunch and took a nap.
What are your spending triggers? How do you avoid falling prey to them?