April Financial Fitness Challenge—Gotta Have It? Check Impulse Spending
American consumer culture is overloaded with variety and with vendors competing for our attention and our money. Faced with this abundance, it's a bit surprising we can make even the simplest buying decisions, much less the wisest.
The list of things we need is short—food, shelter, water, clothing are at the top. The list of things we might want is similar, but inflated by modifiers: Extravagant food, opulent housing, designer water, upscale clothing. Advertisers, peers, and personal taste all entice us to upgrade needs to wants, driving up our expectations and our debt loads at the same time.
Outsmart the "wants"
If you examine your options honestly, you usually won't have much trouble separating needs from wants. But simply knowing the difference isn't always enough to protect you from unwise spending.
There are so many ways to indulge a spending habit: You can shop in a store, via TV shopping channels, with catalogs and a telephone, or online virtually around the world. It's so easy to scratch that shopping itch. And each time you do, you reinforce the habit.
Boost your impulse control with these strategies to get you past those "gotta have it" moments:
Learn to block the "gotta have it" triggers and you can live within your means and enjoy your money. What you're doing, over time, is replacing risky habits with productive habits. Exercising impulse control helps you achieve your financial goals.
Examine your options honestly and you won't have trouble separating needs from wants.
Financial Fitness Challenge
Your credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. The Financial Fitness Challenge continues to look at ways you can make better financial habits no matter what condition the economy is in.
Each month we randomly select five winners to receive $50 Visa gift cards; we choose each month's winners only from that month's entries, so enter every month. Remember to register for the Financial Fitness Challenge.
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