Paying only in cash can help control impulse buying

Dollars & Sense

December 14, 2003|By CBS MARKETWATCH

Impulse spending, the urge behind a thoughtless (and often useless) purchase, has busted many budgets. Fortunately, a simple strategy can break this bad habit.

Try withdrawing the amount of money you normally spend each month on food, clothing, gas, dinners out, movies, etc. Reduce this amount by 10 percent to 20 percent.

Now try to make it last. Avoid use of credit or debit cards, except for emergencies or extraordinary circumstances. The act of handing over cash for purchases often is far more difficult than swiping a piece of plastic.

If you manage to get by without dipping into the percentage you set aside, put that money in a fund for a big-ticket item (a car or vacation, for example), some investment or retirement.

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