Fight the Urge to Splurge

You’ve been prudent and created a budget.  Every cent is accounted for.  Things are looking good.  Then WHAM, your savings and budget are annihilated because of your latest splurge.  Does that sound familiar?  I know it does for me.  I mean, it’s fun for a moment, then you realize what you’ve just done to your personal finance goals.  It’s not pretty.

Whether it’s a car upgrade or the latest fad in electronics, everyone needs to fight the urge to splurge to reach their financial goals.  Use these tips to avoid temptation and stay on track with your financial plans.

Mind games are your new best friend

Depending on your personality, this will either work great or be a complete failure.  It will take some creativity on your part.  You can play a simple mid game by spending a few dollars on some type of luxury item such as candy and call that your “splurge.”  This way, you save a bundle in the end.  Or, if you’re really into mind games, you could place an expensive item in your cart at the store, then leave it on a shelf at the last moment before checkout.  Just knowing the luxury item was in your cart will make you feel like you owned it for a couple minutes.

Leave your money at home

This is really the easiest way to avoid splurging.  Leave your money at home.  Whether that’s cash or credit, don’t take it with you to the store.  This also reduces the numbers of times you give in to impulse purchases.  Also, knowing you don’t have money on you will cause you to place a higher importance on the value of money and how hard you work to earn it.  You might find yourself asking yourself how many hours it will take you at work to purchase that new pair of shoes you saw at the mall.

Talk it over

You’d be surprised how many purchases can be avoided by simply talking it over with your friends or family.  For example, I was thinking about getting new rims for my car.  I asked a friend of mine what he thought and he told me I was stupid for wanting rims and that I should invest in my future instead.  I agreed with him and never got the new rims!  The more you talk things over, the more input you get.  In turn, this will help you make a better decision on whether or not it’s worth it to splurge.

Hide the money before it’s too late!

Hiding your money so you can’t splurge takes some discipline.  Instead of seeing dollar signs pop up in your bank accounts, why not have it withdrawn from your paycheck and invested before you have a chance to spend it! Every American should take full advantage of their employer 401k plan and individual Roth-IRA options.  For both of these retirement accounts, you can invest directly from your paycheck.  It’s as simple as that!

Your future is more important

Think about splurging this way.  What is more important to you: momentary satisfaction or long term financials security?  I guarantee you, if you reach retirement broke, you will regret making the big TV purchases and Corvette leases.  Avoid these pitfalls and invest for your future, I beg of you!

Juan @ Blue Sauger
Juan @ Blue Sauger

Another good technique is to have a "weekly splurge fund". It isn't realistic for most people to lead a spartan lifestyle all the time and if you can set up a splurge fund part of the time then it can help you to act upon those spontaneous urges in a more controlled manner.

Heidi @
Heidi @

Your ideas are good ones. If you can't find the motivation, persistence, and self-control within yourself, then most definitely see what you can do to modify the environment around you to maximize the chances that your will do the right thing! Leaving the credit card at home can certainly help. Thanks for the post.


While splurging is definitely a problem, I was amazed to find out how much I spent on small-dollar items like coffees or snacks. I found that one little mindhack that worked for me --likely due to my mild obsession with round numbers and symmetry-- was to start carrying $50 bills in my wallet. There's no way I'd break a fifty to buy a chocolate bar! It was surprising to see how much money stayed in my wallet at the end of the week using just this little psychological barrier to spending.