, , ,

Resisting the Urge of Impulse Buying: Should You do So?

impulse buying

“When something is tangible and is right in front of you, it sparks the impulse to buy more than a picture on your phone.”
Karen Lee
Author and certified financial planner

If you search Google for the phrase “impulse buying” it will bring you a definition like this: “Impulse shopping is the buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden whim or impulse.” And as CBS News puts in: “Nowhere may America’s consumer culture be more evident than in the peculiar act of impulse buying.”

So, does it mean the Americans are inclined towards impulse shopping? According to a recent year poll, 84% of surveyed consumers claimed they shop impulsively.

What makes people do impulse shopping?

First off, shopping impulsively isn’t necessarily too awful. But it can be if it’s dominating your budget. If your life is only focused on satisfying the “wants” that you have at specific moments, then you have problems.

Yet it’s true that basically anything is made in a way as to force us into making a buying decision. How many times have you bumped into a nicely packaged product that is too tempting to avoid? A dollar here, a dollar there and you already have a huge credit card debt. Spending money is really easy.

Let’s take online shopping; the ease of making online payments is astounding. When using a credit card, we often pay for things we cannot even afford. And because “cash feels the most painful,” it is easier to save money by paying cash rather than with a credit card. However, we like that feeling when we make a one-click payment. It’s so easy, right? A whole lot of services offer that one-click payment option. It’s when you have previously provided all the needed payment information and you just need to click once to make a purchase.

Amazon nails it

This is one giant online retailer that makes buying things online much easier. Amazon Pay, for example, makes it simple for millions of customers to check-in and check out using information already stored in their Amazon account. And since you know that this shopping experience is easy and secure, you might end up purchasing quite impulsively.

Amazon Dash button is another temptation! Basically, you just need to place that small tray-like electronic device around the house and push it every time you need consumer goods such as paper towels or washing powder. Easy, right? But this way you might end up spending money without even noticing it.

Apple Pay

This is Apple’s mobile wallet. A typical Apple Store might use it since it allows the customer to check out and pay by simply holding their phone over a payments reader that can accept Apple Pay. One can even make purchases within apps by simply making a tap on the phone. On the one hand, Apple Pay helps people avoid the long lines in front of the cashier’s desk. On the other hand, it as well might trigger impulsive buying decisions. Especially if we consider that by the end of the year, 50% of US retailers will be accepting Apple Pay. Apparently, the process of spending money is automated quite a lot.

But what about automating your savings?

We cannot possibly change the way our economy works. But we can probably avoid a huge credit card debt and control our habits of impulse buying. How? You either need to wake up rich or just try to make informed decisions regarding the way you earn and spend money.


It sometimes feels really discouraging how in less than a minute we can make a payment but never a saving. It is often so easy to separate from your money with a tap of a finger while at the same time it is nearly as hard if not impossible to save some. We might buy products or services without even calculating whether we can afford them or not. Sometimes we just fail to see the big picture of our finances. Our saving habits are often so vague we cannot control them or have no idea of them.


But maybe things would be different if only banks could provide us with fully automated services. It would be way painless to stash away some funds through them. But banks do not offer so much freedom and flexibility; they are often too time-consuming and nerve-racking to deal with. That’s why the millennials mostly freak out of them. Instead, we need a tool that will help control our finances in a seamless manner. And because banks are like giant tortoises when it comes to automation, FinTech startups seem to be taking the dance floor.

Let’s take Mint which brings together all your financial information starting from your bills and ending with your credit score. It helps you see your financial life on a single page. This way, you can understand where you are standing and how you can improve your spending habits.

Another outstanding virtual tool is Robinhood. It has made it easy to purchase stock shares and to sell them. The experience is now both painless and more understandable than ever. And the users need not pay brokerage fees. Everything is made crystal clear.

In other words, FinTech startups have changed the way people deal with money.Who knows? Maybe a FinTech revolution is near. Imagine how comfy it would be to control your daily savings through a mobile app. And while we say that paying for something with one click is easy as 2+2, saving money with one click can be made equally easy.

, ,

Selfies vs Savings

selfies

When a guy sitting next to my table in a café and having his lunch takes a pic of his meal first and then another one of his very own self, I take it quite normally. And I am 101% sure he is going to either post it on Instagram or send it to someone via Snapchat or make it go online in some other way.  


It seems like we spend most of our lives in the quest for validation without even realizing it. Have you ever asked yourself why do we take selfies and post them online? Is this an act of expressing ourselves, or sharing our best moments with friends, or maybe trying to feel real and independent? I would answer Yes to all of these.

Selfies are a mainstream. And, like it or not, you are going to meet them in bulk when swiping your newsfeed. Because it is so damn easy to take a selfie and to show the world the better us, the happier and the more independent us.


This topic has intrigued me for a while and got me thinking. I realized how easy it is to use technology to showcase ourselves and to speak up. On the other hand, however, we might be facing a ton of problems like the huge student loan debt or the credit card debt that seem to never leave us alone. Maybe it’s weird how I try to find a connection between our selfie habits and saving habits. But it seems like we lack self-control when it comes to showcasing our saving habits and the way we control our finances. Why is it so easy for us to take a selfie than to control our finances?

 

In fact, numbers show that we spend more than we save. According to a study by Moody’s Analytics, our savings rate has dipped to negative 2% making us the only generation with a negative savings rate. And there could be millions of reasons why we cannot or do not want to save money. Some experts say it’s because the recession led the millennials to distrust the banks. Others argue that we don’t understand finance and that half of us do not grasp how pensions work. Yet up until the mid-1980’s Americans saved a significant amount of their earnings.

 

Really? Is controlling your finances so tough? Why do we use the power of self-expression through selfies but we hardly ever use the power of controlling our finances and making informed decisions?

 

I wonder how honest we are with ourselves when it comes to managing our finances. Could we be as much carefree and independent when it comes to showcasing our saving habits like we do it in the case of our selfies? How much of editing work would it take to make our finances look perfect? Think yourself. Would you rather post a selfie online than a graph of your monthly expenditure? Please share your opinions below. I am really looking forward to seeing what you think.

 

Looma Savings Chronicles – Part 2

April was an important month as we launched the private beta version and now we want to summarize the month and again share some interesting stuff with you. A few days ago we posted LOOMA SAVINGS CHRONICLES – PART 1 to share with you some figures on how our app helped our users to save.  Again, numbers might seem pretty small but bare in mind that Looma is not a social app with thousands of users. We are a FinTech, not a photo-editing app.

Here are some interesting details for you:

  • Surprisingly, since April 6th $550 has been saved by our 8 users
  • Only last week (April 24-30) $226 was saved
  • On average each user saved $68.8 in April
  • More than 120 saving transactions were made in April, with $4.6 average transaction amount

The amount of savings, in general, had a constant growth (see the chart below). 85% more was saved by Looma heroes during Week 4 compared to Week 3.

weekly savings

And in the chart below you can see the saving behavior by saving rules for the whole April. The saving rules Eating out and Oil & Gas dominated in April.

saving categories

categories

Considering that the average daily saving per person was around $10, it means Looma can help you save around $300 per month in the future. Imagine at the end of each month you discover extra $300 which was not spent by impulse. As a result, Looma helps avoid non-rational purchasing decisions.

You are welcome to join our journey and try out Looma. Feel free to subscribe to our waiting list on getlooma.com and our people will drop a line within 24 hours.

, ,

Looma Savings Chronicles – Part 1

We are so excited to tell some figures to show how Looma helped our friends to save during the past two weeks.

So we launched the private beta on April 6. We reached out to our friends in California and asked them to check the app and give some feedback. Well, honestly we were not expecting these results but here are some key figures we want to share with you.

Before diving into the numbers, we would like to tell you a little bit about Looma and the rules. Basically, Looma helps people to save money when they spend. It’s neither a magic, nor a scam. It all happens with the help of the saving rules. A rule is nothing than a simple condition. It’s the same like saying to Looma: “Hey if I spend on a specific spending category like Eating Out, Clothing, Nightlife and Bars, etc., then save X percent of that amount for me, every time!”. This makes Looma deposit a saving from your checking account right after you spend money on something you have already selected.

Now about the numbers: please keep in mind that we are live for only two weeks now and currently available only in private beta.

saving categories

 

  • Our 6 heroes saved 288$ during April 6-April 23.
  • After 81 transactions Looma made savings with an average amount of $3.6 each
  • Some saving rules(in picture above) that are worth to be mentioned for the highlighted period were:
    • Users set an average 37% rule for Eating Out which saved $87 for them.
    • For Shopping an average saving rule was 15% that saved $41 for them.
    • $27 was saved on Oil and Gas, with an average saving rule 18%.
    • People also saved $133 while spending on grocery shopping, transportation, taxi fees, coffee shops, utilities and other expenses.
  • The highest rule for saving was set on Eating out – 50%.
  • The lowest saving rule was set on Coffee shops – 5%.

The numbers might seem pretty small, but there is a lot more to come. We are going to regularly keep you updated about our progress.

By the way, if you want to try Looma, feel free to subscribe to our waiting list on getlooma.com.

,

Saving Money on Romance: 7 Inexpensive Valentine Gift Ideas

Inexpensive Valentine Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a special occasion indeed, but sometimes the lack of financial resources can cause stress and anxiety and can make this event something really dreadful. Overall, any holiday and special occasion can be a real disaster for those on a tight budget. So what to do? Maybe run away somewhere for a day or two? Or break up with your partner right before the holiday and then reunite again? These are not the best options, of course. That’s why in this article I am going to share a few inexpensive Valentine gift ideas with you.

1. Valentine’s Day keychain

One of those cute Valentine’s Day gifts is the personalized keychain to your heart …or your house. You can customize it with your own message or photo.

2. Inexpensive novels

There are plenty of romantic novels under $20 you can buy at any corner. Some such books are:

  • “The Girls of Mischief Bay” by Susan Mallery
  • “The Immortal Who Loved Me: An Argeneau Novel” by Lyndsay Sands
  • “Beyond the Sunrise” by Mary Balogh
  • “Romantic Comedy of Manners Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson

3. A custom T-shirt

This one is another gift idea that won’t cost you more than $25. A custom T-shirt will be both useful and fun. Make sure you personalize it with a cute message such as “Bae since 2015.”

4. One-time dance class

A lot of dance studios offer free one-time classes. They usually last for 1-2 hours. So, this is enough to learn something new and enjoy the time spent together.

5. DIY gift basket

These are usually sold at any gift store. But it will be more cost-effective to create one yourself. Just buy a nice coffee mug either Valentine’s Day themed or one with a personalized message for your beloved. Then fill it with colorful candies or chocolate. Wrap the mug with colored cellophane. Here you go! Your bae will appreciate your efforts especially if you aren’t that crafty usually.

6. Sexy lingerie & chocolate

Lingerie does not have to be from Victoria’s Secret store to be appealing and sexy. You can find cheaper options in other stores too. So, buy your partner lingerie, wrap it in a red paper and put some chocolate inside. A romantic date night is guaranteed!

7. Valentine’s Day dinner

Booking a table in a restaurant on the Valentine’s Day can be really costly. Why spend money on those ridiculously expensive things? Instead, prepare a dinner at home. Pasta and wine can be quite a good deal. If you have better culinary skills, you can try something more complex. Also, you can cook together to make the process more fun. At the end, turn on music and just hang out.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”

Jim Rohn (entrepreneur)

In the end, romance should never be dependent on the gifts you make for each other. If you have got a common goal of saving money, then discipline is the only way. Know what you spend your hard-earned cash on. Do not bother about those costly dinner tables or expensive jewelry. Live the day and love wholeheartedly. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,

How to save Money When Shopping Online?

Shopping Online

When did you make your last online purchase? I bet it was not so long ago. Shopping online can be both quick and convenient, and we all know that. However, it can sometimes be pricey. Fortunately, there are so many tricks to help you cut costs. Here are a few of them.

Get coupon codes

It’s always a good idea to search for coupons before making a purchase. If you are on the seller’s mailing list, you might already be getting coupon codes. Also, you can use different websites that aggregate coupon codes from online retailers. RetailMeNot, BradsDeals, Couponcraze, Groupon, and Couponmom are such websites. Ebates is a website where you can search cashback stores, coupons, and products. Jet.com is another website where you can shop for low-price items. The prices will drop every time you add an item with a certain tag to your card. Also, you can save money by opting out of free returns.

If you are a frequent Amazon user, you can choose the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card by Chase and get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. Also, you will get 3% back every time you shop at Amazon, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all your other purchases.

“Like” and “heart” your favorite brands

“Heart” your favorite retailers on Facebook and Instagram. Many of them would post special coupons and announce about offers on their official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Subscribe to get emails

Whether it’s for getting coupon codes or receiving a monthly newsletter; it’s always a good idea to join the email lists of different retailers. This is really convenient because the best sales deals and offers will come right into your inbox. Some merchants even offer 10% off your first purchase just for signing up.

Google the product you are about to buy

You want to find a better deal. Just Google the product name to see who else is selling the same product at much lower a price. Sometimes, a few extra clicks can save you more money.

Compare online and in-store prices

I know that you are shopping online because you do not want to or do not have time to visit the store. However, sometimes, a retailer’s online price can be higher than the in-store price for the item. So, if possible, compare the two prices before you shop online.

Use math

Nothing difficult, believe me. Even schoolchildren can do this. If you are allowed to use your coupon codes more than once, use them wisely. For example, if you have got a coupon for $10 off the item’s price and another for 20% off – enter the 20% code first. You will save more money this way.

Use comparison websites

These websites will allow you to compare the prices of items offered by different retailers. Bizrate is one such website.

Avoid paying shipping fees

First of all, compare the shipping fees from retailer to retailer. Also, to minimize your spendings, buy some items ahead of time to get free shipping. For example, some online shops might tell you that a minimum of $99 is needed for free shipping. So, if you have already spent some $87, you could consider buying something else to get that free shipping.

Know the retailer’s return policy

Things might be quite OK with electronics, but when you are shopping for shoes or clothes, problems with size and color might often occur. Some brands offer free return shipping, others allow you to return the items in-store free of charge. So, check your retailer’s return policy prior to shopping online.

Get rewarded for being loyal

Many brands offer customer loyalty programs. Join one and enter your loyalty code every time you shop. You can earn bonuses and discounts this way.

Use one of those fun and useful apps

People shop and prices drop. There is a cool app called Earny which helps to get your money back automatically when prices drop on your purchases. But note that the feature only works with Citibank and Chase cards for now.

Now that you already have 11 ways to save money when shopping online, go ahead and make your next purchase. If however, you think you are spending too much on online purchases, subscribe to get the new savings automation tool called Looma. It’s an app that will make savings out of your day to day spendings. Subscribe below to get the app as soon as we launch.

 

 

 

 

,

The Way to Success: How Madonna Made Out

Madonna's way to success

The New Year is here. For many of us, a new year is a new beginning. This is the right period to start making the changes you think you need in your life. In fact, procrastination can be your worst enemy, for it won’t let you pave your way to success. Remember how many great ideas you have canceled during the previous years? Your dream is really different from anyone else’s but success can only be achieved through hard work. To prove you this, I decided to tell you a few things about how Madonna made out.

The reason why I chose Madonna is that virtually everyone seems to know her so well. Yet there are so many things we might have missed out. Actually, hers was not an easy path. However, she is now considered as one of the richest celebrities in the world with an estimated net worth reaching up to $650 million according to different sources.

Up to date, the superstar has sold more than 250 million copies of her albums. She has released 12 music albums so far. She is the most certified artist of all time in the UK. Madonna has received 45 awards from the British Phonographic Industry as of April 2013. Also, she has topped VH1s lists of “100 Greatest Women in Music” and “50 Greatest Women in the Video Era.” Madonna has also won several Guinness World Records, one of them for being the world’s top-selling female artist of all time.

“I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.”

Madonna

But did you know that Madonna was born to a Catholic family in Bay City, Michigan and then moved to Rochester Hills with her family? The loss of her mother when she was only five might have impacted her decision to make the world hear her story. At some point, she rejected her religious background and soon moved to New York to improve her dance skills. She was a passionate dancer; The University of Michigan has offered her a dance scholarship.

You think it was easy to settle in New York? Huh! Still, she managed to start her career as a singer. She released her first album “Madonna” in 1983. Madonna did not care about who was criticizing her. Her performances were full of freedom and controversy. She was experimenting with erotic and religious choreography. Well, most often, she would do them both at the same time. And yes, she dared to say “f*ck” on national television. Unstoppable, isn’t she?

“I have my work and my faith… If that’s boring to some people, I can’t tell you how much I don’t care.”

Madonna

Most of her first albums helped her become an international star and paved her way to success. While back in the 1970s she joined a rock band, she then founded her own one in 1980 before releasing her first album. Eventually, Madonna and Steve Bray broke off from the band. They started writing their own music which was ‘80s disco and pop.

Madonna is currently a world-famous singer, choreographer, actress, writer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has proved that having a strict religious background or coming from a small town has nothing to do with your chances to achieve success. Look, anyone can do it! It’s all about how much you want to achieve something and how much effort you are ready to invest. In fact, your dreams are what can get you through even the worst days. They are the reason for you to wake up in the morning and try again. And eventually, they are what make your life worth living. Be sure that if you try hard, one day you will become an inspiration to others like Madonna has been an inspiration for many.

 

 

,

How to get on the Same Financial Page with my Partner?

on the same financial page with your partner

Getting into a relationship is not easy. Getting on the same financial page with your partner can be way more difficult. So, this article is going be about how to manage your finances if you are no longer single.

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

― John Lennon

Many relationships usually start from shared dreams and beliefs. Let your dreams work for you. For example, a shared dream of having a baby can make you become more organized in respect of your finances.

The moment of change

This is a vital step to take. Only after you realize the need of change, you will actually be able to change yourself or something around you. After it, you might start reading blog posts like this or even personal finance books to understand the essence of things. And if so then you are on the right track. This I call the phase of personal enthusiasm. However, you should make sure you do not get stuck there. You need to share your enthusiasm with your partner too if you really want to get on the same financial page with them.

Basically, all you need to do is to ask them to just sit down and figure out where you are at in terms of your finances. Because, you know, it’s not only about having the desire to get something, it’s also about achieving it. For example, most couples are dreaming about a house. And, yes that’s cool! However, they need to unite their efforts to get one. At first, it might get really awkward to discuss money issues with someone you have always been sharing your romantic fantasies with. However, it’s not impossible either. You need to see where you are at the moment, what you want to get, and how you are going to get it. As soon as you make these three things clear, it will be way easier to start saving money or paying off a debt or whatever you need to do to achieve your long-term goals.

Being honest about everything!

Well, I mean it! Being honest about everything means sharing everything with each other. This also includes sharing bills, taxes, purchases etc. Being fully on the same financial page means to adopt a new policy of sharing information, worries, and even fears with each other. This will help you get rid of the “tactfulness” and start evaluating the situation in a more accurate way.

Drafting an action plan

As soon as you have set your goals, draft an action plan and start implementing it. I am not talking about merely creating a to-do list. I am talking about setting short-term goals that can be easy to achieve in limited time. You can consider doing the following things:

  • Build a strong emergency fund
  • Control how you spend so that you can pay off your debt more easily
  • Smooth out the bumps on your credit report and improve your credit scores

Well, hopefully, this article taught you that dreaming big is not that risky. The whole thing here is about honesty and the right mindset. As soon as you have these, you can achieve your long-term financial goals with your partner.

,

8 No Bullshit Signs You are Financially Stable

financially stable

Most of our lives we spend chasing financial stability. But sometimes, it turns out we are already financially stable. So, what makes us stable? Following are 8 signs to help you figure things out.

  1. You use credit cards for convenience, not out of necessity

Many people with bad credit usually use credit cards, too. However, they use them as a way to extend their paychecks to buy things that they cannot afford. In contrast to this, financially stable people use credit cards mainly in order to make fast online purchases. Also, they might use a credit card just because the issuer offers rewards every time they buy something.

  1. You don’t give a f*ck if you lose your job

This is one of the strongest indicators that you are financially stable. Most of the people in the world depend on their salary. I mean, literally, they will get into a financial disaster if they lose their jobs. But, if you have an excellent emergency fund and you have pretty much money on your savings account. And you got a side business then you might not care at all if you lose your current job. That’s it!

  1. You are never late with your bills

Not only you are never late with your bills, but you sometimes even pay them ahead of time. This is not only an indicator of your wealth but also of your financial stability and respect of discipline. Additionally, you just hate the feeling of owing anything to anybody.

  1. People treat you as their financial advisor

One of the biggest signs you are a financial guru is when people come to you for financial advice. They often do this because they view you as someone who knows how to spend/save money.

  1. You constantly invest in your retirement

Many people do not contribute anything to their retirement. Others just add a little percentage of what they earn. But that’s not the case with financially stable people because they most often contribute a two-digit percentage to their retirement. The reason is that these people understand the importance of investing in retirement.

  1. You can afford to buy whatever you really want

This, however, does not involve impulse shopping. Instead, you just know what you want and you go out and buy it. Your finances are stable enough to enable you to do this.

  1. You do not have insomnia because of money

When you go to sleep at night, you sleep well because no financial matters bother you. People who are financially stable are happy due to their strong financial position. This does not mean that these people do not have any money worries at all. However, those worries are so minor that they cannot cause insomnia.

  1. You live beneath your means

You understand that becoming financially stable is not that easy. That’s why you prefer to earn more and spend less. That’s the main formula toward getting rich or at least being financially stable. Also, it is always a good idea to save money, make investments, and pay off the debt. If you develop the right mindset, you will be able to do all these things.

This was quite a short list of signs indicating financial stability. If at least some of them are present for you, then you are on the right path. It will take some effort, but believe me; your efforts will pay off eventually.

 

,

Why Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things

spend money on experiences

Millennials are attributing less and less importance to homes, cars, TVs, and watches. Instead, they are showing more interest towards personal experiences. One reason why millennials spend money on experiences more than on things is that they view ownership differently. For example, young adults of the previous generation were placing more value in a car or a house.

While a lot of millennials’ motivation today is targeted towards creating authentic content for social media. According to the Harris Poll, most millennials are craving for recognition. For example, they are trying to get more experiences to be able to share them with their friends and followers.

This is the so-called FOMO – fear of missing out. It drives millennials to share experiences and to engage with people especially in social media.

The same Poll shows the following results:

  • Millennials cherish the time spent with the loved ones
  • Life events are a great way to create awesome memories
  • Millennials get a spirit of community due to events

So, maybe it’s a good idea to adopt this millennial habit of spending more money on experiences rather than things. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University says,

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

The whole idea is that we get used to things and we become no longer excited about them. Let’s take a car purchase as an example. You buy a dream car and you are thrilled about it. But some time passes and owning that car becomes the norm. Some 1-2 years later, you will be longing for another car for sure. In other words, material things cannot provide us with permanent pleasure. They are good for a limited time only.

On the other hand, experiences can provide us with more lasting happiness because they become a part of our self. We identify ourselves as the accumulation of everything that has happened to us. And if you pay more money to get more awesome experiences, you will feel happier in the long run.

Life is about memories

Experiences shape memories, not things. At the end of your life, you are not going to remember how cool you were just because you had an iPhone 7 while others had the 6. Instead, you are going to remember what cool weekends you were having with friends and family or what awesome places you have visited during your vacations. Unlike things that you might devalue right after purchasing them, experiences provide longer lasting memories. Accordingly, they are more valuable than anything else. In other words, it’s a good idea to spend money on experiences rather than things and to see which one is more pleasurable for you. Share your opinion with us. Feel free to comment below.