I was listening to a How to Money podcast episode recently (while sanding Sonia and Zoe’s beds!) and they said something about spending triggers…which triggered some thinking for me.
I’ve read in multiple books/posts/articles that we only have so much willpower to use over the course of a day. Because of this, it’s smart to design your life so that it requires less willpower.
How do you avoid using willpower?
You get your gym clothes out the night before so that it takes less willpower to work out.
You put your alarm clock on the opposite side of the bedroom so that it takes less willpower to get out of bed.
You get drive-thru coffee so you don’t have to use self-control to avoid the pastry.
You take a time-consuming game app off your phone so that you don’t need to use self-control to avoid it.
You don’t buy thin mint cookies at Aldi because then you don’t have to spend willpower resisting them.
(Ok, that one is mainly applicable to me.)
The idea is that if you don’t waste your willpower resources on those things, then you have more willpower left for other stuff.
Also, if you set things up so that they don’t require self control or willpower, you are much more likely to stick with the habits/actions you want to stick with!
Think about your spending triggers
What things/places/times make you want to spend money that you shouldn’t spend?
If you figure out what those are, then you can be mindful about avoiding them in the first place.
There’s the trite classic: grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
For me: arriving at the 5:00 hour of the day with no meal plan. Takeout spending: triggered!
Maybe there’s a store that woos your dollars from you (Can you shop somewhere else?)
Maybe there’s a website that makes it too easy to spend (You could block it on your browser.)
Maybe having cash in your wallet makes you spend (That’s Mr. FG. He’s better with no cash on hand!)
Maybe having a credit card in your wallet makes you prone to spending.
The spending triggers are going to vary widely depending on the person, but pretty much everyone has them.
Take some time to think about your triggers (if you share money with someone, figure out the triggers for each of you!) and then see if you can think of a way to avoid or minimize your contact with the trigger.
Your financial situation will benefit and you’ll be left with more self control for other things in your life.