If you have a spending habit you’d like to get under control there are few strategies as simple and straightforward as the 30 day rule.
The 30 day rule
The rule tells you to take the money you were going to spend on an impulse buy and save it in a savings account instead for 30 days.
Brownie? No. New clothes? No. Concert tickets? No. Are those shoes on sale? No. A plant to replace the one that died? Still no.
But if you still want to buy that item after the 30 day period is up, go for it. Otherwise, the money stays in your savings account or goes into your emergency fund. This will help you overcome impulse spending and boost savings over time. Simple.
Does it help to control impulse spending?
The process readjusts your spending habits by making you confront the instant gratification get from buying unnecessary things and learn the joy of delayed gratification.
Chances are, getting the few items that you still want at the end of 30 days will bring far more joy than acquiring several items along the way. You will also learn more about your priorities.
How do I stick to it?
If you remind yourself that this is a rule, not a suggestion, this could very well work for you.
It also helps to make it a challenge. Use the rule to make a savings game: save £100 in a week or £500 in a month etc. Challenge a friend to do it with you, and compare at the end of the month.
Track your progress as you go with Money Dashboard by setting a savings goal and watch as you inch towards the goal.
You can also make a bullet journal to write down or colour in each impulse spending victories and watch it add up.
How long does it take to build a habit?
It takes more than 2 months for good habits or behaviours to become automatic. In this case, decisions not to impulse spend. And like anything else, practice makes perfect.
It’s practically guaranteed that you will stumble and buy something completely unnecessary in the first month that you will regret (that’s not an excuse!) but you can use those lessons to improve in the next month.
See how far ahead or behind of your goal you are after 30 days and use that to set yourself a new challenge in the next.
If the 30-day rule doesn’t sound right for you, see our posts about alternative strategies like the cash diet and the Kakeibo method of saving money.
Looking for more? Check out our money saving tips and article on how to stop wasting money.