A cup of morning coffee. Picking up those “extras” at the grocery store. Ordering out (and having food delivered to your home). Treating yourself to some new clothes after a busy week at work.
We might say that we budget for the aforementioned, but the reality is that they fall more under the category of “impulse” purchases. And these impulse purchases can really add up over time. In fact, according to a new study from SlickDeals.net, the average amount of money that consumers spend outside of the basic living necessities is about $140 more than what they budget ($197) for all expenditures every week. If you multiply $140 by 52 (weeks in the year), you’ll find that the average American is splurging close to $7,300 every year.
The SlickDeals.net survey polled 2,000 adults on their budgeting and weekly spending habits. Worse yet, it’s evident that many of the consumers that splurge on these purchases don’t have the means to be doing it. According to a separate study from CompareCards.com, only a little more than one-third of all credit card holders state that they’re “very confident” about paying their balances off in full each month.
Look, we’re not saying that you don’t deserve to treat yourself every now and then, but if you’re ever looking to cut back on your expenses, allocate additional funds to your retirement or save for that next big vacation, SlickDeals.net has identified a roadmap on how to get it done.
So, what are the biggest impulse buys? Let’s take a closer look:
The Biggest Impulse Buys
According to SlickDeals.net, the biggest impulse spends are online shopping at 40 percent, grocery shopping at 39 percent, and subscription services at 37 percent. Technology products (36 percent) and eating out for lunch every workday (35 percent) round out the top five. And all you need to do is drive by a Starbucks on any day of the week to know that coffee (32 percent) is another one of the biggest budget killers SlickDeals.net identified. Food delivery (32 percent), gym memberships (30 percent) and entertainment (29 percent) help cap the list of biggest impulse buys.
What Can You Do?
Again, let’s reiterate that it’s OK to splurge every now and then. After all, renting a movie on-demand or going to the theater qualifies as entertainment for many, and not necessarily an impulse spend. And usually, gym memberships are for the purpose of staying fit and healthy, not necessarily because people crave going to the gym. But certainly, things like eating out for lunch and snagging a morning coffee add up over time — especially if they’re done regularly. So what can you do to keep your budgets in check? Here’s a look:
- Budget more realistically: Many people make ambitious budgets and then never hit them. Other people don’t like budgeting and just won’t do it. We suggest you mix the two and just budget so it’s more realistic. Cut back on things you don’t need to make monetary space for things you want.
- Don’t make impulse online purchases: Have you ever written a report or typed out an email to someone and then sat on it for a day, reviewed it, and then submitted it or sent it? We’d encourage you to do the same with online shopping. Save items to your cart, sleep on it for a day and then come back and decide whether or not it’s a wise purchase.
- Track your spending: Pull your credit card statement and see where your money is going each month. Maybe you’re still even paying for some services that you didn’t even realize. This affords you the ability to discontinue them, and assess what things your money is well spent on and what things it’s not.
- Reward yourself: Lastly, don’t be afraid to splurge or treat yourself every now and then. It’s a part of life. Just be sure that it doesn’t become excessive.
Are there any recurring weekly purchases that are costing you in the long run? With the holidays approaching and the New Year not far behind, now could be a great time to reign in your expenses and start fresh.