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Impulse Spending: How to Bounce Back After Splurging

Reading time: 2 minutes

Next time you start beating yourself up for overspending, try to understand why you made the mistake and strategize how to avoid it in the future.

Ask yourself why the splurge happened in the first place. For example, did you end up spending excessively on a particular shopping trip because you hadn’t bought new clothes in a long time? Instead of dwelling on the mistake, you can add clothing as an expense in your monthly budget. That way, you’ll be prepared for future wardrobe upgrades and can avoid unplanned shopping sprees that tend to occur when you’ve overworn the clothes you already have.

It’s often tempting to focus on shaming mistakes instead of solving them, but holding onto your money missteps can hurt your ability to make better financial decisions in the future. Negatives like “I’m so careless with money!” or “What’s wrong with me?” will set you up for continued failure. Rather than learning from the experience and moving on, you’ve turned your spending habits into a negative reflection on you as a person. And your actions — if you dwell on them — are likely to reinforce those negative statements.

Planning for unexpected expenses gives you a cushion for those times when splurges do happen. If what you splurge on typically varies, try adding a miscellaneous expense item to your budget. That way, when a shopping spree happens, it’ll feel less like a mistake because you’ve factored at least some of the cost into your budget. Of course, it’s wise to avoid letting splurges turn into routine events, or at least carefully consider the impact they will have on your finances.

Advance planning for the occasional shopping spree is really a win-win. You’re covered when you splurge, and you’ll be able to save a little extra money during the months you don’t.

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