woman with laptop and credit card.width VzNwa.jpg

This Change to My Social Media Habits Has Saved Me Hundreds of Dollars Over the Past Year

A woman sitting at a table in her home and typing on her laptop while holding her credit card.

Image source: Getty Images

There are certain things that tend to get in the way of meeting financial goals. Home repairs have been a big one in my world. Car repairs can be another.

But for many of us, all it takes is a string of unplanned purchases to derail our financial objectives. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to prevent impulse buys. And one savvy social media move on my part has helped me cut back on impulse purchases, leaving more cash for my savings account as a result.

Sometimes, it pays to be out of the loop

Years back, a well-meaning friend added me to a deal group on Facebook that would post bargains on sites like Amazon. Although I’m not on social media constantly, I check often enough because I’m a member of groups related to my kids’ schools and activities.

For a long time, in the course of my Facebook scrolling, I’d come across posts from that deal group that would inevitably drive me to make purchases I wasn’t planning on. But when I decided to audit my spending last year, I found that I’d probably racked up more than $500 in charges on my credit card in the course of jumping on those deals.

Thankfully, all of those charges were paid in full and didn’t cause me to rack up credit card interest. Also, because I’m a pretty decent saver, those extra buys didn’t hurt my long-term or even near-term finances.

Still, I didn’t like the idea of spending that much money on a series of unnecessary purchases. So I decided to break the cycle by removing myself from that deal group. Since then, my impulse online purchases have basically amounted to $0.

Remove the temptation to spend impulsively

Certain impulse purchases really can’t be helped. If you’re at the supermarket or Costco at a time when you’re hungry and you’re tempted to scoop up snacks that weren’t on your list, it’s hard to avoid that type of situation. But what you should do is try to identify a pattern in your impulse buying habits and see if you can break it.

Maybe you tend to make most of your impulse purchases while scrolling on your phone during your train ride home from work. To stop doing that, you have options. You could start by removing your credit card details from your phone. You could also bring a book, magazine, or another type of entertainment to stay busy during your commute.

You may also find that shopping with certain friends or family members tends to lead you to make extra purchases. If so, find other activities to do with those people if they’re the type to drag you into different stores and push you to buy things you could really do without.

Impulse purchases can also happen in a less obvious way. You may have plans to go to dinner when your friends decide at the last minute that you should have drinks first. If you weren’t planning to spend an extra $20 or so on top of the cost of your meal, you can decline.

It can be really hard to say no to impulse buys. But unfortunately, they have the potential to really bust your budget. That’s why it’s important to identify the situations that tend to lead to impulse purchases and remove yourself from them.

In my case, that was thankfully pretty easy, since my impulse buying was largely linked to this one source. You may need to do a little more thinking, but it’s an exercise worth engaging in if it results in less spending and more saving.

Alert: highest cash back card we’ve seen now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee!

Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts