I’m back with another collaborative post, and this one is about not scratching that payday splurge itch. You know the one I’m talking about too, the one that feels like your money is burning a hole in your pocket so it needs to be spent. Hopefully, these five tips help y’all like they’ve helped me because we’ve all been there.
Do you struggle with Payday Splurge Urge? If so, you are not alone. Even if you’re disciplined with your finances overall, the last Friday of the month can be a danger zone. If you find yourself splurging on payday and regretting it down the line, these tips will help you take control.
Your Credit Card is Not Your Shopping Buddy (And Neither is Auto-fill) – Carrying credit cards on you when you’re out shopping during the payday danger zone is a big no-no if you want to control your spending. And while it might be annoying in the moment to realize that you can’t buy that pair of sapphire blue stilettos immediately, remember that you can still buy them if you want. The shop will probably hold onto a pair in your size for you until you’ve had time to fetch your credit card. Even if you leave the shop thinking you’re going home to get your card, you might find along the way that you can’t be bothered going back today—maybe you’ll stop by tomorrow?—then once you’re in your pajamas getting ready for Netflix and chill, you’ve forgotten those shoes completely.
If online shopping is more your bag, don’t worry: you can ‘forget’ your credit card in this format as well. The key is to remove your saved credit card details from the autosave on your web browser. Then when you’re browsing the latest styles online and that payday splurge urge pounces, having to manually punch in your payment details imposes a little extra time and inconvenience that could make the difference between an impulse buy and a sensible decision.
Identify Emotional Spending Habits – It’s well known that having a bad day can make us want to spend money because we want to soothe the negative emotions and feel cared for. A less appreciated form of emotional spending is the urge to spend in response to positive emotions. Imagine winning big at dream palace casino. Great feeling, right? But once that initial elation wears off, it can be tempting to start splurging in order to maintain your positive mood.
Similarly, think about how you feel on payday. After a month of hard grind, you’re excited about the reward. You know the moment that paycheck comes through—cha ching!—you’re going to treat yourself. Maybe you’re already scoping out Amazon prime, deciding what to buy ahead of time. But how would it feel if payday came and went without your spending a cent? Could the cha-ching moment make you happy without having to double-down by making a purchase? Could you do something else you enjoy to help you keep that spring in your step?
Unfortunately, payday usually means you’re exhausted from a month of work, so it can be harder to motivate yourself to celebrate in more creative or energetic ways, like going for a hike or writing a long catch up email to a good friend. If you can make the effort to do something that doesn’t involve spending you may not miss your credit card at all.
Zoom Out For a Second – When you’re about to make an expensive payday purchase, it’s worth taking a moment to zoom out from the immediate situation and think about this moment in a larger context. Will your grocery budget for the week be affected by this splurge? Can you still make rent without dipping into your savings? Can you make this purchase and stay on track to smashing your financial goals? Then come back to the purchase: the item in your hand, or in your shopping cart. Do you still want to buy this, understanding the knock-on consequences? If the answer is yes, that’s great. You’ve thought it through. But if not, then well done: you’ve avoided payday splurge urge! Sometimes all it takes to stop us making that impulsive spend is a little perspective.
Hand Over Your Stacks – Have you ever noticed how different it feels to pay for something with a credit or debit card, rather than cash? The former is easier because you don’t get a visual of you and your money parting ways. Next time you’re about to make a splurge, force yourself to head to the ATM and come back with cash. (Don’t forget to check your new low bank balance, too.) There’s nothing like having to watch your hand reach out and release a stack of cash for dissuading you that whatever you’re paying for is worth it.
Fantasy Shopping – This is a weird one, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. A great way to tickle that payday itch is to create a Pinterest wishlist board instead of actually buying things you’re lusting after. Next time you find something online that you’d like to buy, pin it instead. The act of pinning covetable items on your very own board can lessen the desire to actually own those things in real life.
Whether you’re a personal finance hero or a month-by-month kind of spendier, avoiding the payday splurge urge is not easy. Next time payday looms, you’ll be armed with these handy tips.
This post was a collaborative effort – please check out my disclosure policy page for more details.