By Randell Tiongson

Question: I understand that I need to start and invest but I find it difficult because I’m impulsive when it comes to buying. What should I do?

Answer: Saying ‘no’ is a challenge, especially when you are shopping. You go in, and come out with a bag or two in hand, or even when it comes to online shopping.

You check a website, add a number of things to your cart, and then click the check-out button.

With the ease and accessibility of shopping, it has become almost effortless to spend, and you might find yourself falling into the trap of impulse spending.

The habit of impulse spending may be hard to break, but once you learn to say ‘no,’ you’ll find yourself wishing you broke the habit sooner.

I have three tips for you. These tips may be easy to start yet hard to maintain, so it’s important to keep building the habit.

In a study done by the University College of London, it took 96 participants between 20 to 84 days to form their habits of choice.

The number of days varied depending on the activities participants wanted to turn into habits.

Eating healthier took a shorter time as compared to exercising regularly.

That aside, here are three activities you can turn into habits to curb impulse spending:

1) Track your expenses

This is one of the easiest ways to curb impulse spending. You can download a tracking app on your phone (Check out forbes.com’s 12 FREE Apps to track your spending), so you can record your expenses quickly and conveniently.

With this, you also need to know your budget. If you find yourself close to your spending limit, this should give you the push to stop buying unnecessary things.

Even more, if you add up your expenses and find that you’re spending too much on a certain category, you might start feeling guilty and start avoiding buying unnecessary things.

2) Leave your credit cards at home

Credit cards make it easier to spend. With a single swipe of your card, you can buy what you want. Even better (or worse), you can buy something for X amount as long as it’s within your credit limit.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the cash to pay. Your credit card isn’t connected to your ATM account. This can lead to a dangerous path if you cannot control your spending, so one of the easiest ways to curb impulse spending is to leave your credit cards at home and only bring enough cash to cover your transportation costs and food expenses. By leaving your cards at home and only bringing enough cash, you can’t afford to shop at the last-minute.

3) Stay focused on your goal

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were willing to do everything to achieve that?

If you have a money-related goal, such as buying a car or a house or traveling the world, staying focused on your goal will allow you to curb your impulse to spend.

If you’re browsing through an e-commerce website and find a number of items you like, just remember that you have a goal to reach and that if you end up spending, it will take you a step back from that goal.

So how do you stay focused on your goal? You can write it down and put it in a place where you’ll see it every day. You can keep reading online resources and join groups or forums to talk with like-minded individuals.

This way, you’ll surround yourself with information and people who can influence you to reach your goals.

Saying ‘no’ to impulse buying may be a challenge at first try; however, once you build the habit, you’ll find it easier to curb.

Furthermore, this discipline will trickle down to other aspects of your life, from building the habit to eating healthier or exercising regularly.

Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough. (Proverbs 21:5 TEV)

Reposted with permission from the author.