budget living

Fighting the Urge to Splurge

Getting the urge to splurge can be brought on for many different reasons. Sometimes sadness or depression makes us want to treat ourselves to something nice and cheer ourselves up. Or maybe you have a reason to celebrate and you want to reward yourself. Perhaps you need some motivation on a new project so you buy yourself all the tools you need to get it done even though you’re not completely sure you’ll ever get to it. We can even get the urge to splurge through peer pressure. If you’re out shopping with friends and everyone else is splurging on new things or they tell you how wonderful you look in that dress and you “just have to buy it.”

The desire to buy new things can come on for many different reasons. And splurging every once in a while is okay; even healthy. But making a habit of splurging can keep you in debt and is sure to prevent you from ever becoming wealthy.

When you’re overcome with an urge to splurge and know you shouldn’t, here are some ways to fight off that urge:

Understand Why

The most important thing you can do in this situation is understand why you have a strong desire to spend. What are you feeling? What brought that feeling on? When you slow down and examine your feelings, the sudden urge loses its energy and you can start to think through your actions. And when that happens, you’re in a better place to resist temptation. Think back to past splurges; what feelings brought them on? Knowing this will help you prepare to resist the temptation the next time.

Cash Only

If you’re feeling vulnerable to the urge, leave your credit and debit cards at home and only carry a limited amount of cash, no more than $40. If you are only able to spend what you have on you without access to your bank account or a line of credit, you’ll be able to keep your urge under control with only a very small treat.

Create a “fun money” account

If you have money set aside for splurging, you won’t feel so guilty about it. It doesn’t need to be a huge account, budget for just $20-$50 a month. This will help you to stay on track with your spending while still being able to splurge on occasion.

Splurge on Experiences

When you spend on material things, the satisfaction you get is short-lived. But if you splurge on a fun experience instead, the memories of your enjoyment will stay with you much longer and you’ll feel less tempted to splurge again. Splurge on lunch with a good friend or a visit to the spa.

Wait

Instead of splurging in the immediate moment, allow yourself 24 hours to think about your purchase. If you still really want it, you can always go back. But often times, the urge will pass by then and you’ll realize you don’t really want or need the item you were considering.

Overspending will keep you from reaching your financial dreams. Living within a budget and managing your money instead of letting your money manage you is the best way to grow your wealth. In the long-run, you’ll be glad you resisted the urge to splurge.

About the author

Emilie Burke

Emilie is a politics-major turned data engineer. She graduated from Princeton University in 2015 and from Smartly with her MBA in 2016. She lives in North Carolina with her college sweetheart Casey who is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV. She blogs at Burke Does. You can find her around the web at @emilielimaburke.

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