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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.


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!









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It is not an exaggeration that if there is a list of top 10 “hardest to master” habits, then spending and saving habits are among them. Yes, it is hard to save but it is even harder to restrain yourself from spending too much. Not surprisingly, your spending rate and saving balance are closely related, and the rule is very simple: the more you spend, the less you save. Even though almost all of us are well aware of this rule, almost 62% of Americans have under $1000 in savings, and 1 out of 10 does not have any savings at all. Some would argue that savings balance is also closely related to your annual income, and if you earn less than $30,000 a year, then it is almost impossible to save. While it is hard to disagree, there are two key habits you can develop to save money even with a low income.

1. Don’t underestimate small savings

Never underestimate small savings. Yes, $1 a day sounds ridiculous. What can you get by saving just $1 a day? Well, simple math shows that in a non-leap year, you would have $365 in your savings. This is not a lot, but it is quite something. I bet you can do lots of things with this money. However, the most important part is not really the amount you saved but the saving habit that is developed during this process. Once you see progress, you tend to repeat behaviors, and the following year that savings could easily double. So, even if you can save $1 a day, do it. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

2. Have a spending plan

You can’t control your spending unless you have a plan. Remember how many times you went to a nearby market without any clear plan as to what to buy and ended up having too many unnecessary items in your basket. Yes, this happens to all of us, and that is why almost 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten. That is a lot. That basically means that there is a big chance that you did not really need almost half of the items you bought. And the same goes for everything else around shopping. This does not at all mean that you should only eat rice and drink water, but having a clear spending plan will help to increase your spending balance significantly.

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1. Save money for emergencies

Life is an interesting adventure. In particular, you never know what will happen in a month, a day or even an hour, right?

Guess what, emergency situations can come up for anyone and that is when we wish we had some savings.

But, before jumping ahead, let me explain what is and is not considered an emergency situation. Let’s agree that annual bills like property taxes or car insurance do not fit into this category, let alone home and car maintenance. Then, what are emergency situations? Have you ever thought about the possibility of losing your job or getting struck with a massive health bill? Having any amount of emergency funds will come to the rescue when life happens. Some people believe that this is a kind of negative thinking, but I think that it is more of a pragmatic way of thinking, and it is always OK to embrace being prepared for unexpected events.

2. Save money for a new phone, car or even a trip to Hawaii

Yes, if you are the type of person (though we hope you are not) who really does not care much about emergencies, there is another reason to save some money. Life is short, and sometimes we really want to enjoy it in different ways. Saving for a new phone, car or a trip to Hawaii sounds great, doesn’t it?

Do you remember the last purchase you made with your own savings? If you do, then you may also remember that proud feeling and excitement that people feel only when some important goal is reached. It was not a long time ago when my phone accidentally got water damage, while I was in the swimming pool. As a graduate student, I could not really afford a new phone, so some old-fashioned “iPhone ancestor” device was there for me. Over the next several months, saving some money became a profound goal. While in the beginning it was all about buying a new phone, there is much more you gain while saving for something specific. Even though in the end you may not even buy what you needed, the feeling that you could achieve the goal is much more valuable. And of course you will be amazed at how much money you can free up in your budget by eliminating any unreasonable expenses.

So, next time you buy that extra cup of coffee, think about Hawaii.