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How to Curb the Urge to Spend in a Sale

urge to spend

Special offer! Limited Time! Best Price of the Season! Grab a bargain! Do these words send your pulse racing?  Do they give you the urge to spend? Like it or not, they probably influence you. You’re wired to seek good value. Buying products for less money than they are worth seems like a fantastic plan, especially when you are living on a tight budget.  Nonetheless, your quest to save money could inadvertently lead you to buy sale items you don’t need, or even truly want.

Smart marketing can leave you imagining you’re saving money even though you’re not. Don’t worry if sale signs usually make you loosen your grip on the contents of your wallet though, the following tips will increase your resolve to resist the urge to spend on sale items that aren’t going to benefit you in the end.

Shop with cash

“Cash? What’s that?” You might have forgotten what a crisp banknote feels like between your fingers if you habitually use a debit or credit card. However, studies show that when you switch to cash, you will be less tempted to part with your money. Leave the plastic at home, and stick to a cash-fueled budget when you go shopping to keep the urge to spend at bay.

Prepare ahead of time

If you have a passion for specific products, have a solid plan before you hit the shops. Decide what you will and won’t buy, and plan to stick to it. It’s way too hard to talk yourself out of buying those shoes on special offer when you’ve already convinced yourself that you love them. A plan can help you see the bigger picture.

Also, it can be helpful to remember what you own, but don’t use. Is your closet bulging with dresses or suits with sales tags still attached? You don’t need to buy similar outfits when you go out. Do your kids already have dozens of stuffed animals and more clothes than they can wear in a month? Knowing what you have makes the urge to spend less tempting.


Pause for thought for a few minutes when considering a sale purchase. Ask yourself how many times you’ll use it -- once or twice, or on a regular basis? Ask yourself if the person you are buying a gift for will truly love this item, or could you show your love to them in a different way than with materials things?

Don’t let crafty marketing trick you. People often reach into their wallets when they think they see a bargain. Merchandise is only a good deal when it’s valuable to you personally. Consider whether you would buy items if they weren’t on sale -- would you pay full price?

Don’t be fooled by popularity

Have you ever heard of the saying “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you too?” Just because throngs of people are buying sale items doesn’t mean you should as well. When you spy a frenzy of shopaholics doing what they love most, take a deep breath. Bear in mind that they might not be in control of their impulses. Like wild gazelles, they might be running with the herd rather than making intelligent choices.

Additionally, think twice before purposely shopping for trendy items. We’ve all seen those trendy items that used to be expensive and cool. Now, some folks consider them wardrobe disasters. Back in their day, people spent oodles of money on them. Today, they may be considered an embarrasement.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping a sale. However, make wise decisions about what you buy and how you spend money. Weigh how valuable goods are to you instead of only judging them by price. As a result, you’ll enjoy the wise purchases you make instead of developing buyer’s remorse.

The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt.  For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.


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