In the last 2 years, I spent a lot of money on electronics and camera gear. Recently, I made an inventory list. I found that I have spent around HKD 250K. This is a large sum of money for me. I reflected on the reasons. First, it happens when I am stressed. Two years ago, I came to Singapore to work alone. I face some challenges in adapting to my new work. My dad passed away while I am working in Singapore. The stress gave me the excuse to spend since it makes me feel happy. Second, impulse purchase is addictive. Once I find out it gives me joy, I tend to do it more. Third, once you break the psychological barrier of spending a big sum of money, it becomes easier and easier. The item price goes up quickly. A few years ago, I won’t spend 20K lightly.
Recently, I decided to put a stop to impulse purchases. I think there are no single means to overcome psychological addiction because it is too strong. I need a combination of different tricks to fine-tune my mind. First, blocking access to ads and social media, all of them. Companies try to persuade us to spend on something we don’t really need. They disburse the message through different channels, such as ads and sponsored content. If I can take control of what kind of information I want to receive, I will not be persuaded by those companies. Second, create an inventory list. After I created one, I found out how many things I already owned. I feel that I should not add anything else to the list. If you are an organized person, this method works well because you won’t want the list to be any longer and look messy. Third, start selling things. After creating the list, I started to sell useless items online. I found that selling things can also make me feel happy. It is also addictive. I enjoy marking items in the inventory list as sold and receiving money through selling second-hand. Lastly, set up a budget. I used an app called YNAB. Every month, I assign my salary to different spending categories. I spend according to the budget. I think this is useful. But if I only do this as I have tried before, I still fail. It is simply because the enemy is too strong. I have to combine 4 methods together to finally feel better about controlling impulse purchases.
Here are the tools I am using (Mac/iPhone):
|Inventory List||Google Sheet|