Slow Down Spending By Playing "Choose Your Own Adventure"

If you make too many purchases without second-guessing them, you’ll burden yourself with more things than you can manage and less money than you’ll need to feel comfortable. One way to curtail impulse spending is to pause and make sure you’ve got a reason for doing what you’re about to do.

So Over Debt recommends putting yourself through a decision tree reminiscent of Choose Your Own Adventure books. Before you make a purchase, you confront the object of your desire through questions that will either disqualify it or allow it to continue along the path to purchase. Ideally, your tree will constitute a stringent set of circumstances that sends things you don’t really need toward dead ends before you buy them.

In her example, the writer identifies a purchase and asks a series of questions, starting with “Do I need it to live?” Next up comes “Do I already own something that meets the same need?” If a potential purchase passes through the gauntlet without falling off the tree, it’s a worthy buy. If you still find yourself buying everything that catches your eye, you’ll need to find some tougher questions.

How to Stop Buying on Impulse [So Over Debt]