Personal Finance

6 Strategies To Control Your Urges To Spend

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Self-control is one of the virtues that a savvy Singaporean can cultivate. Having a sense of self-control helps you to manage the seemingly irresistible urge to spend money. While, people who lack it have a tendency to instantly gratify their “itch” to splurge.

Combat this dilemma against your willpower by employing these strategies:


I know how cliché this sounds but, awareness is the key. You must note down how much money comes in and goes out. Previous literature displayed that this act of tracking your spending is an efficient tool to control one’s urges to spend. Start by keeping a daily list of your expenses.


To prevent accidents and to maintain order in the streets, authorities impose speed limits. Apply the same idea to your finances by imposing monetary limits.

It easy to create tangible boundaries to some services such as postpaid and bundle plans. However, this is not always the case. This is why Professor and TED Speaker Dan Ariely highlighted that it is important to dictate your own boundaries. Doing so was proven to help increase self-control. Furthermore, sharing your self-determined limitations to other people urges you to stick to it more.


The shiny distractions all over the shopping mall are designed to confuse your mind and to open your wallets. You see, findings showed that strain in cognition (thinking) depletes self-control. This is why shops are graced with flashy signs, vibrant colors, loud songs, and bright wall decor.

Conquer the distractions by making one financial decision at a time. This strategy is not only limited to shopping. Divide your financial decisions instead of overwhelming your mind.


Avoid committing much of your willpower toward deciding whether to save or to spend by automatic your finances. Some institutions allow the employer to automate your salary in a bank account that is solely for your savings. Patronizing this method will lessen the temptation of immediate spending.

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With my background in Psychology, I can attest to the idea that the emotional states affect the way you spend. Anxiety was shown to decrease the likelihood of taking risks and sadness was shown to increase spending. Emotions influence your self-control in complex ways.

This is why I encourage you to take sufficient time for contemplation before buying something. Wait for a few hours or a few days, especially for huge and expensive purchases. Many people have submitted to this efficient strategy. Be one of them!


A surefire way to stay on top of finances is to avoid temptation at all costs. Reduce your time spent on shopping malls and invest it in more productive matters. Alternatively, you may leave your plastic cards (i.e., credit and debit) at home. Simply carry the amount of cash that you can confidently afford.

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These six strategies share one goal and that is to take control of your finances again. May these aforementioned help you to reclaim what was rightfully yours.

Sources: 1 & 2

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