Stop the Spending Impulse, Please!!!
Posted By :Heather Wagenhals
Posted At : Monday, Aug 23, 2010
One of our members in the http://www.unlockyourwealth.com forum posted a question about beginning the Carry Cash Challenge from our Mid Week Update. I liked the question so much and felt that others might also feel this way that I wanted to add it to our blog. My point with the answer I wrote was, we cannot control the stimulus, but we can control the response, we just need to build up our mental and intestinal fortitude to say, “for this impulse, not right now, maybe later”:
Q: How do I start the “Carry Cash Challenge”? I am an impulsive buyer, and I don’t want to be!!
A: This is a great question. The purpose of the “Carry Cash Challenge” is to teach ourselves restraint and when the cash is gone, so are our discretionary spending decisions, until the cash is replenished at the next pay cycle. It will only take a time or two of the impulse spending and lack of additional funds for items we truly need, to learn to live within our means. Here is how to start the challenge:
1. Make a commitment with yourself that you will only spend the cash you have on hand for discretionary items and once it is gone, it’s gone.
2. Start filling the discretionary spending cash stash after you have: Saved the 10% of your paycheck off the top, taken the next 10% and allocated it for debt reduction (This is in addition to your monthly minimum payments on your credit obligations) and utilized the last 80% to live off. Whatever is left over from the 80% is yours to spend any way you wish. Is it a negative amount (meaning you do not have any cash leftover)? Then you wait until the next pay period to see if there is any leftover cash to add to the discretionary spending cash stash.
Remember, on the Unlock Your Wealth Radio show we always talk about how powerful the mind is and what we think about, we bring about. We always get what we ‘SAY’ we want. If you want to be a disciplined spender, you will be, if you enjoy the reckless abandon of impulse spending, you will continue to do just that, spend with reckless abandon.
Let’s examine your statement for a moment, “I am an impulsive buyer, and I don’t want to be!!” The first part of your statement is, “I am an impulsive buyer”. That is an affirmative statement. “I am”, so when you tell yourself that and voila, that is what your brain creates. The second part of that statement is “I don’t want to be!!” Again goes to work the greatest super computer of the entire Universe, the brain works so fast and doesn’t hear the word no, so “I want to be…[an impulsive buyer]” is what it is listening to and achieving. The brain ALWAYS WINS.
What we can do is state what it is we “DO” want. Because the speed and accuracy with the brain hitting our ‘stated’ goals, we need to carefully choose our words and say what we DO want, not what we don’t want. We can change our brain’s targets simply by rephrasing what it is we “do” want. For example: “I am a disciplined spender” or “I am a careful spender” will give us the strength, once the brain has a chance to process and change our belief about spending, in words that will evoke the kind of spender we desire to be.
The last thing we need to consider when beginning this “Carry Cash Challenge” is that we always do things with a positive intent and purpose. In some way, this impulsive spending is doing something for you on some level (right, wrong, or indifferent) that reinforces the behavior and keeps you doing it, even though it is totally destructive to you, financially. After you restructure your affirmation about the type of spender you are, and, if you are still having a challenge with the impulses, I encourage you to download the episode with Unlock Your Wealth Protégé Cocoa Brown on July 10th where we addressed her impulsive shopping behaviors and did a six step reframe to create different alternatives for her to choose to give her that same feeling the impulsive shopping did, without the financial consequences.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. That space gives us the creative control we need to effectively respond to any stimulus. We may need to come up with some creative alternatives BEFORE we receive the next stimulus so we can replace the old patterned response, with one we truly desire.
After listening to the episode and creating options for your spending stimulus, start the “Carry Cash Challenge” and pop by to let us know how it is working for you.