Budgeting

30-Day Rule: Control Your Spending & Save More

The 30-day rule is one strategy that can help you control spending. The rule, in theory, is simple—let’s say you want to buy something, instead of spending the money right away, you should wait 30 days. After that 30 day wait, if the purchase still seems worthwhile, buy it. 

Chances are that you may simply forget about it or decide that you don’t need it. With this simple thought process, this rule can help you be more present while spending! Keep reading to learn how the 30-day rule can help you and why it works for various spending impulses! 

Impulse Shoppers and the 30-Day Rule

Although the 30-day rule can be helpful for many people who are trying to save money. This rule can work best for you if you struggle with impulse spending. 

Impulse spending is buying things without thinking about whether they are a necessity, and essentially giving in to your wants. Impulse purchases are becoming more common with online shopping, in addition to the traditional way of spending money in stores. 

More often than not, impulse spending may not be apparent because it usually involves smaller purchases, which may not seem like a considerable expense. Still, over time these small purchases add up and can cost you a good amount of money. The 30-day rule can help you control impulse spending by giving you a moment to think about your purchases—rather than just adding them to your virtual or in-person cart. 

Why Is Impulsive Buying So Common?

If you are having a hard time controlling your impulse spending, you are not alone. Many people struggle with impulse buying for a few different reasons. Here are a few, some that you may resonate with and may help you find the underlying cause to your spending habits: 

A Cycle of Instant Gratification 

Making purchases can feel good; however, you are more likely to feel buyer’s remorse with impulse buying. You may spend money elsewhere to feel better about that purchase, and then feel bad again, seeing a cycle?

Many people who impulse buy find themselves in a cyclical battle to feel better. The 30-day rule makes you think about that initial purchase. With that waiting period, you are less likely to have buyer’s remorse or use spending money as a source of gratification. With delayed gratification, you can start cutting down on that “feel good” from an instant buy that can become addicting.

Credit Card Usage 

Various studies have shown that people who have credit cards will spend more money than those who pay with cash or debit. And so, one of the causes of your impulse shopping may be due to using credit cards. If so, it will be helpful to keep them at home or use them only for essentials. On the other hand, if you already understand how to manage your credit cards wisely, the 30-day rule can be used with credit card purchases. 

Marketing and Product Placement 

Ever notice that retailers tend to have many small products by the checkout line. Or, when shopping online and checking out with your virtual cart, a pop-up may come up asking you if you need anything else? These are all impulse buys! And companies know that these strategies can get more money from shoppers. 

Simply being aware of these strategies can help you cut down on adding unnecessary items to your cart. Because chances are, if you didn’t need it before you got to the checkout, you probably won’t need it afterward. The 30-day rule can help you be more mindful and return to those purchases after thinking about them for a reasonable amount of time! 

And so, as you can see, impulse shopping has many causes like psychology and readily available loans, even for bad credit—making it difficult to control impulse spending on your own. And that is where the 30-day rule can come in as one tool to use to curb your impulse buying habits. 

How Can the 30-Day Rule be Incorporated Into A Budget?

The 30-day rule is a single powerful tool. When incorporated into other money management tools, it can mean even more success towards your goal of controlling spending and saving more. A budget is a great way to manage your money, and the 30-day rule can be incorporated into it. Below are some of the commonly used budgeting strategies, and whether you use apps or not, you can include the 30-day rule:

The Envelope Method

This method involves labeling digital or actual envelopes with spending categories and allocating your budgeted amounts into each. Once each envelope runs out, you cannot spend more money in that category. To incorporate the 30-day rule method, you can store and hold onto whatever category your prospective purchase falls until the next month. 

The Zero-sum Budget

The zero-sum budget doesn’t necessarily mean spending all your money by the end of the month. Instead, it involves allocating it to categories, so you have nothing in hand to spend. Using the 30-day rule, you can take that money for potential purchase and assign it to its respective category. Once those 30 days are up, you can decide to save or use that money! 

The Pay-yourself First Budget

This monthly budget plan involves allocating money to your financial goals before anything else. To incorporate the 30-day rule, you can put that purchase money into savings until the 30 days are up. 

And so, as you can see, regardless of what kind of budget you are working with, the 30-day rule can easily be applied to it. 

The Bottom Line With the 30-Day Rule

The 30-day rule can be an excellent money-saving tool that helps you differentiate between your wants vs. needs. It can help you get more focus and control for an impulse buying habit, can help you stay out of debt, and help you reach any savings goal that you may have. And so, if you find yourself with a bad spending habit, trying the 30-day rule, even for just a few expenses, can help you change the way you think about your money!

References:

MIT study on the psychology of spending