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Saving tips to conquer Compulsive Spending

They often buy things that they don’t need. And without control over their spending, they land in financial trouble.

Niyati starts the day by logging on to the internet. A message flashes on her screen ‘three-day sale’ on electronics and other items has begun. A time-bound flash sale offer on a designer item gets her to frantically add it to the cart– lest it vanishes.

Two days later, the parcel arrives and she realises that the ninth pair of designer boots was superfluous.

Niyati is one of the many compulsive spenders; they often buy things that they don’t need. And without control over their spending, they land in financial trouble.

However, there are ways one could get finances back in order and curb unnecessary spending.

1. Identify the Trouble Spots

If one is a compulsive spender, it is very unlikely they will be following any budgeting system. For it would have already highlighted the fault lines.

One of the easiest ways to get started in budgeting is to use the 50-20-30 rule to budgeting. 50% of your income should go towards living expenses and essentials (household needs) like rent, food and groceries, utility bills and others. Another 20% towards financial goals in the form of savings and investment. And 30% of your income towards flexible spending (household wants) such as entertainment and travel.

Essentially, compulsive spenders need to target household wants and reduce spending to get finances back in shape.


Start by putting upper limits to items of spending like dining, movies, leisure travel and so on.

2. Cooling period

Whenever you are doing any non-essential purchases, give a waiting period of 24 hours or more. If you are in the mall, and come across attractive furniture, make a note of it. If you happen to see an interesting gadget online, put it in the wish list.

Revisit after a day to consider if you really need it. Often, that momentary pause and memory of past experiences gives you an inkling as to whether you actually need it. If 24 hours is less, stretch the waiting period to a week or a month. Good things can always wait, if they are worth it.

3. Shop with a list

People often visit the supermarket to buy toothpaste and groceries and end up putting items like gum, chocolates and unwanted crockery in their shopping cart. Prepare a shopping list beforehand to curb impulse buying.  Keep your visits to the malls to a bare minimum. If you are an online shopper, shut off the flow of offers and promotional mails by unsubscribing from their mailing list.


Whenever you are doing any non-essential purchases, give a waiting period of 24 hours or more. If you are in the mall, and come across attractive furniture, make a note of it. If you happen to see an interesting gadget online, put it in the wish list.

4. Automate Investments

You also need to automate your investments for meeting your financial goals. At least 20% of your income should go towards investments intended to meet long-term or short-term financial goals. Start a SIP, that typically debits your bank account a few days away from your salary day. That way you will ensure your financial goals like retirement or children’s education are not compromised.

In short, compulsive spenders can get their finances in order and save for the future by doing the following: Identifying trouble spots through a simple budgeting system, setting spending limits, preparing a shopping list beforehand and by putting a waiting period to curb impulse buying. Moreover, by automating investments they will ensure their financial goals are not compromised.

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