This Mindful Habit Will Put a Stop to Overspending

If you had to ballpark it, how long does it take before you feel buyer’s remorse? Does it start as soon as you walk out of the store, the weight of your new purchase heavy in your hands? Or does it only sink in when you see it on your line of credit or credit card statement?  

Rushing into a purchase may seem inevitable nowadays. With a line of credit or credit card at your disposal, a lack of cash may not even stop you. It’s tempting to tap into credit for nearly anything — whether it’s a tasty treat, a new outfit, or a smart gadget that syncs with your phone. 

But this habit leaves less of your  personal line of credit limit available in case of an emergency, which may defeat the purpose of having this account in the first place. It’s meant to be afinancial safety net for things like emergency medical expenses or unexpected auto repairs, after all.  

If you’re tired of dealing with the fallout of your shopping habits, you need to HALT and consciously think about your spending. Here’s everything you need to know about  this method.

What is HALT?

HALT is an acronym, standing for the following four words:

  • Hungry

  • Angry

  • Lonely

  • Tired

Together, they make up many of the negative feelings that spur you on to spend more than you intend. 

It encourages you to ask yourself if you’re feeling hungry or tired. And if so, is that the reason why you’re filling your cart with unnecessary snacks or clothes

Asking these questions helps you break out of the spending mindset and think about the real impact your shopping has on your budget. 

Let’s take a deeper look at each emotion to see how you may overcome your negative thoughts.

Hunger

Hunger is often hard to ignore, and you may splurge on vending machine snacks, drive-thru combos, or takeout dinners to sate your cravings. Having homemade snacks at your desk and  prepared meals waiting for you back at home may help you say no to these splurges. 

Anger

If you rely on retail therapy, your budget may be in the blast zone when you’re ready to blow up out of anger. 

If you notice you reach for your line of credit when you’re angry, try doing something physical instead. Take up boxing, scrub down your house, or go for a run around the block to release tension.

Lonely

When you’re feeling insecure and alone, treating yourself to something may distract you from how lonely you feel. But there’s a better way to deal with your loneliness. Reach out to friends, family, or professionals to talk about your feelings instead. 

Tired

Without energy to tackle your chores, it’s easy to excuse spending that helps you cut corners, but these short-cuts tend to cost you a lot of money. Figure out what’s causing you to feel tired. Is it an illness or lack of sleep? Whatever causes your eyes to droop, there are solutions. 

Bottom Line

Left to their own devices, your negative emotions can yank on your purse strings until you spend all your money. Before you reach for your line of credit to keep these spending habits afloat, be mindful of your feelings. The HALT method reminds you to step back and ask yourself if you truly need something before you waste your money. 


GET THE BOOK BY
ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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