How to Stop Impulsive Spending in 5 Simple Steps

By Kate Northrup

Have you ever bought something that in the moment felt like the best purchase EVER, only to wonder what the heck you were thinking when you got your credit card bill three weeks later?

If so, you may have fallen prey to impulsive spending.

Money is a deeply emotional issue. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or totally out of touch.

We buy things because we want to feel a certain way: abundant, pretty, comfortable, sexy, etc. But the truth is, the path to long-term, sustainable happiness is not actually paved in paper and plastic (bills and credit cards, that is.)

Just like alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and any other vice you can name, spending money can be a way to numb out. Sometimes we’re trying to avoid feeling what we’re feeling so we pull out our credit card.

So how do we stop impulsive spending? How do we make smarter, more mindful spending decisions that actually DO contribute to sustainable happiness and financial well-being?

I’m so glad you asked because this week’s Financial Freedom Friday episode covers this topic in depth.

Watch the video below to get 5 simple steps you can take to stop impulsive spending before it even starts. Your bank account, credit card balances, savings account, and peace of mind will all thank you 🙂

Share the #MoneyLove:

Stop impulsive spending before it even starts in 5 simple steps: http://bit.ly/17pH9Aw (Tweet it!)

Over to you:

When do you find yourself the most prone to impulsive spending? What other tips do you have for stopping impulsive spending? Leave a comment below!

Don’t put me in that hole with that pigeon.

By Kate Northrup

MoneyALoveStoryCover

I have a confession to make:

I’ve got this book about money coming out and I’m scared of being “the money girl” for the rest of my life.

My book is called Money: A Love Story, Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want. As my publication date gets closer (September 10, 2013), I find myself getting my panties in a wrinkle worrying about what this book is going to mean to my life twenty years from now.

I have at least one other book about money in me. But I also have ideas flowing about spirituality, health, parenting (someday), and relationships.

I’ve paused many times along this book launch process wondering if I’m going to have to move into talking 401K’s and IRA’s in order to stay on point with my brand. (If I did I would feel terminally bored. I’ll leave the nuts and bolts and abbreviations to financial planners and such.)

Ever hesitate to start something because you don’t want to be “branded” by that thing for the rest of your life?

When I get über stuck in my head about it, I think about other people I admire who’ve changed direction with agility and style.

Marie Forleo’s first book was called Make Every Man Want You. Now she teaches women how to rock businesses online.

Chris Guillebeau started out in service work on the Mercy Ships. Now he teaches how to live an unconventional life.

Ronald Reagan was an actor who went on to become President.

Gretchen Rubin was a lawyer who now writes about happiness.

Joy Behar was a high school English teacher before she started doing stand-up in her forties.

Louise Hay was a model and didn’t start Hay House Publishing until she was in her sixties.

My dad was an orthopedic surgeon who’s now a full-time, stay-at-home dad to my eleven-year-old sister.

All of these folks gave themselves permission to morph into the next great version of themselves. There was probably some angst and a bit of an identity crisis or two along the way. But they’re shining examples of the truth that it’s okay to change careers, change topics, and even to change your mind.

A reminder to myself and anyone else who needs it:

If you own and accept who you are, even if it’s a different version than yesterday, other people will accept you too.

We never really know where we’re going. Life is deliciously surprising. Chances are pretty good that all of us will change direction in a major way at some point in our lives.

So, instead of worrying about being “the money girl” forever and cringing every time someone tells me that I’m going to be “the next Suze Orman,” I’ve decided to just do the work.

Right now I’ve got something to tell people about money. Right now I’ve got some insight to share in this particular playground.

At some point in the future I may have something to share in some other playground.

But for now I’m choosing to let go of the fear of future limitation in honor of playing full out right now . . .

Have you ever not started a project because you were afraid of being limited by it later on in life? Do you ever find yourself getting nervous about being pigeon-holed by your brand? Have you made a major change in your career? How did it feel? How did you navigate it? Leave a comment — I’d love to hear your wisdom on this one!

Photo: Henning Mühlinghaus

 

People Showed Up Here For What You Have To Say – So Say It

Kate-SpeakingThe clock was dangerously nearing 12:30pm. Tummies were grumbling. Butts were getting sore from sitting too long. Blood sugar levels were dipping.

My talk, Money: A Love Story, was supposed to end the morning session. But the audience’s (and my own) need for a break were obvious.

So I whispered to the organizer:

“I don’t have to speak today. Let’s just take me off the agenda so we can stay on schedule, or at least I’ll just speak for 5 minutes instead of 30.”

It seemed logical. We were running over. There was too much information to cover in too little time. I would just take myself out and make it easier for everyone. Done and done.

During the lunch break I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the headlining speaker, who’d flown in from Florida to share his expertise with the group.

He said:

“Kate, I heard you asked to be removed from the program or to only speak for 5 minutes. There are people who have driven here to this event to hear you and what you have to say. You will speak for your full time because what you have to share is important.”

The familiar feeling of tears pooling atop my bottom eyelids was there. It was one of those moments of great recognition.

My topic that day was about the importance of valuing ourselves in order to make more money and become a better money manager. Money is all about what we value, and we have to start with ourselves.

Yet, in asking to be removed from the program, I had slipped into an old pattern of undervaluing my own contribution. I was throwing myself under the bus, once again. (We really do teach what we need to learn.)

Sometimes being conscientious of time, resources, and others’ needs is a way of covering up the fact that we don’t value ourselves enough.

When we’re not giving our contribution the credence it deserves, we:

  • apologize for taking up too much space
  • make ourselves small (sometimes literally by scrunching ourselves up or crossing our legs and arms too tightly)
  • keep our hands down even when we have something to say
  • keep our mouths shut
  • take only 15 minutes of the 30 minutes given to us
  • volunteer to be taken off the program

I’m so grateful the gentleman I was sharing the stage with that day said something to me to remind me to honor my contribution.

In the end, I gave my full 30-minute talk and many people came up to me and told me that it was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

Take-home message:

If you don’t speak up, you could be preventing someone from hearing exactly what they needed to. (Tweet it)

So . . .

Show up.

Speak up.

Grab the mic.

Take your time.

Take up space.

Turn up your volume.

Stand up tall.

Sing loud and proud.

Shake what your mama gave you.

And keep yourself on the program.