A Simple Solution to Curbing Impulse Spending

It’s just over a week until Christmas and the shopping frenzy is building for us all.  Last year we published a very popular post about how to keeping shopping impulses under control.  It contained 5 steps that everyone can follow:

  1. Make a budget
  2. Make a list
  3. Prioritize
  4. Keep it in cash
  5. Avoid the mall

This year we thought it would be helpful to provide a simple tool you can use to help you keep track of your spending.  This is a low-tech, print-it-out-and-keep-it-close-at-hand is a  simple budget tracking thermometer.  Go ahead, open up the file and print it out.  Then we’ll talk about how it works.  Ready?

The pdf includes an old fashion thermometer that you color in as you spend your money.  A budget worksheet so you can plan how much to spend.  And a sample that shows you how quickly you can spend $600 if you don’t think carefully about what you are buying.  Start by writing down who you want to buy stuff for and what you’ve already spent on items.  Then add up how much it all will cost.  Divide your thermometer into even segments.  Start coloring it in.  When you reach the top, STOP SPENDING!

Did you have any idea how quickly you could blow through $300 without spending very much money per person?  Let us know if using this old-school tool gives you a new view on budgeting and keeping your spending under control.

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2 Responses

  1. Jeff Siegel

    Wonderful tips! I’ve been using the “keep it in cash” method for a number of years. It helps to keep the shopping frenzy in perspective and adds that important tactile reality as you see the cash disappear.

    • Peggy -- Edge blogger

      The key is figuring out a system that works for you — and sticking with it!