Impulsive spending is something many individuals with BPD struggle with. The moment something appealing catches our eyes, we can’t help but be tempted to purchase the item. And more often than not, we do without plan or consideration of the outcome. Some may think that impulsive spending is no big deal, especially if they have a decent income. But when our money is spent unwisely, there’s always the risk of ending up with financial debts, or not enough money for the things we really need.
My greatest weakness is shoes, Carvela and KG shoes if I’m going to be specific. Every time I explored the top floor of Selfridges in my home city, I’d fall madly in love with a pair of gorgeous flats or super high heels and impulsively buy them. Then as soon as I’d go home, I’d open the shoe box and savour the moment I pushed the soft tissue paper to the side, unpacked my beautiful new shoes and slid them on. I can’t begin to explain how good I feel every time I buy a new pair of shoes, I’m just engulfed by this intense excitement, happiness and sense of comfort.
However, just like any impulsive behaviour, my impulsive spending became a problem. So I avoided the city centre to reduce my urge to buy shoes, and it helped for a while. Luckily, around the time I started to fight my impulsive spending I moved to another country. There aren’t any stores with my favourite footwear brands in the town I now live in, so there’s been no chance for me to go out and buy the shoes that seduce me. Still, it didn’t take long for me to start browsing the web for the shoes unfortunately. But when I recognised I was playing with fire, I tackled my problem by learning to make logical and reasonable money spending decisions.
At the beginning of every month, I draft up a list of questions, then evaluate how much money I have to spare, to save or spend on something nice.
1. How much money do I have this month?
(Monthly income + savings.)
2. What bills do I have to pay?
(E.g. Electricity, water, rent, health insurance, credit card.)
3. What food and drink do I need to buy?
(E.g. Specific fruit and vegetables, milk, sugar, tea, chicken.)
4. What other essencials do I need to buy?
(E.g. Toiletries, household cleaning equipment, nappies, rash cream.)
5. Is there anything else I need to buy?
(E.g. New clothes for my daughter, batteries, notepad.)
Estimated amount of money that will be spent =
Money I have this month – Estimation =
Money left to save or spend =
It has taken me some time to realistically evaluate how much money I’ll spend each month, but now my estimates are very accurate. When I had a problem with evaluating how much I’d spend, I chose to just pay my bills and buy everything I needed to buy, then noted down how much I spent each month and calculated the average. At the end of those months, I chose to spend what money I had left on something I’d buy impulsively (shoes most of the time).
Over the last 8 months, I’ve saved more than I’ve spent on items I treat myself (or others) with. My impulsive spending has died down somehow. I guess it’s because I’ve adapted to my wise spending routine, and perhaps also because slipping on a pair of stilettos that I already own, but rarely get the chance to wear, is enough to give me the same comfort that came with my impulsive spending.
If you are an impulsive spender, try using my list of questions to manage the problem. It takes a lot of commitment to stay on the right path. But when you’ve mastered this self-help tool, your impulsive spending will be a lot easier to control.