Tag Archives: impulse purchases

Canadian Impulse Spending and Debt.

The Globe and Mail published an article yesterday about the yearly cost of impulse spending using data from a BMO poll. Take a guess at what the average Canadian is spending on items they didn’t really need to pick up but did anyway. A thousand dollars a year?

Nope.

Ok, fine, two thousand?

Try again.

It’s $3,720/year.

Almost four thousand dollars. A year. $310 a month, to be exact.

At first I thought there’s no way I could spend that much per year on things I buy on a whim, and then I started doing math in my head and realized it’s entirely possible, and I probably spend even more than that a year on impulse buys. Do I feel bad about it? Yup. Do I regret it? Yup. Do I often take things back when I can’t handle the guilt anymore? You bet I do. But I’ve never gone into debt for it.

Careful – the actual phrasing in the article is “92 per cent said they’d consider borrowing to come up with some of the cash”

Which brings me to the next article that caught my eye, also from the Globe and Mail. Not only are we impulse spending to the tune of $310 a month, but as a whole, we’re going into debt more and more and us Canadians don’t really care about it. We’re not even sorry, and that’s our national stereotype (trust me, this is one case where I would not be upset if we apologized).

We’re overspending, we’re taking on more and more debt, and we don’t. care. In trouble? Just borrow more, it’ll be fine. Want renovations on your kitchen but can’t afford them? Take out a HELOC and go to town! Who cares if you won’t be able to afford to put food in those cupboards, the granite counter tops will look AMAZING.

Remember when I posted that few Canadians have emergency savings? That was bad enough, but a whopping 7% of those who would consider relying on debt couldn’t raise the $2,000 emergency regardless of the timeline in which they were given to do it. And that’s even more alarming.

Canadians are carrying record levels of debt and yet, surprisingly, 62 per cent of those surveyed are comfortable with their financial situation… That is quite a disjoint. It’s concerning to see that access to credit and taking on more debt has become an accepted part of financial planning. – Ted Michalos, Bankruptcy Trustee with Hoyes, Michalos & Associates

My question is why is this happening? How did the normalization of debt get to a point where it’s ok to use it for day-to-day spending? And how can we change this so that savings is the normal, and debt is the minority?

What the hell, Canada?! It doesn’t have to be this way!

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June recap and July goal.

Yes, you read that right. I said goal. But more about that later.

There were a few failures in June, but I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when I added up my spending for the month and realized it was under $1000. That has not happened in a VERY long time.  Since before October, probably. So I’ve proven to myself I can do it, but I don’t think it’ll last because of the move and the expenses involved with that.

Here’s what I wanted to do in June:

Financial goals

  • Contribute $192.30 biweekly to my Emergency Fund – Success!
  • Put all “found money” toward the moving fund – Almost success.
  • No impulse purchases during the month – Fail.
  • Record all spending in weekly reports – Massive fail.

Personal goals

  • Prepare for the move as best I can without a firm move-in date – Success!
  • Post 2x/week on the blog – Fail.
  • Keep my nails in decent shape (no biting!) – Success!

Overall, June wasn’t a bad month. I reeled in my spending and managed to not freak out too much about the move (although I did give advanced apologies to both Mr. Dollars and his roommate for the crazy that will surely befall them in the coming month). I don’t think I’ll ever stop impulse spending (mostly because I forget what I need until I see it right in front of me), so I’m taking that goal off the list.

And now, my only goal for July:

To get through this move as frugally as possible. With my sanity intact.

Is that too much to ask?

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May recap: Kind of a disaster.

May was kind of an expensive month. Mainly because I lost control of my spending (good thing the wedding road trip came in under budget), and also because the weather has been so nice lately & I can’t resist the call of the patio. But in my defense, we only get about 3 months of nice weather during the year, so I need to get  on the patio while the gettin’s good!

Let’s review my May goals:

Financial goals

  • Contribute $192.30 biweekly to my Emergency Fund – Success!
  • Put all “found money” toward my computer fund – Fail.
  • No impulse purchases during the month – Massive fail.
  • Record all spending in weekly reports – Massive fail.
  • Review savings goals for 2012, make adjustments as necessary – Fail.

Personal goals

  • Make a moving plan a la Daisy at Add Vodka - Fail.
  • Use Domestic8d’s pretty meal planners to plan a week of meals  - Definite fail.
  • Post 2x/week on the blog – Fail.
  • Keep my nails in decent shape (no biting!) – Success!

Let’s just say May was a bust. It sucks to set goals and then have to mark almost all of them as failures. However, maybe this will teach me to keep my goals in mind when I’m doing my daily spending. June will have a definite spending plan along with reports and attempts to control my impulses. July means the move and purchasing new items for the apartment, and I want to be prepared for that.

Can you believe it’s almost June? How did May go for you? 

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I have an Addictive Product Personality.

There are two problems I am constantly looking to solve in my beauty routine:

  • Oily/Acne prone skin
  • Fine, limp hair

What sometimes triggers my binge-shopping is that I’ll buy something from a certain product line for one of these problems, like it, and then decide that I need every other item from that product line so they can work together and make me look and feel awesome. This helps me justify almost any purchase.

I also obey rules, so when something says “this works best when you use [insert other product from same line] here”, I tell myself that whatever product I’m using is clearly suboptimal without its counterparts from the same line.

Previous product line obsessions include Bioderma, Korres, Bumble & Bumble and most recently, Lush.

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In order to keep myself in check, I’ve decided no more trying new product lines for the foreseeable future. I can still tweak my current regimen (I may need to try a different Lush moisturizer and facewash combo, but those will be exchanges), but I’m not allowed to try anything new for the month of June. I have SO MUCH hair and face stuff! I do NOT need any more (what you can’t see in that picture is that I have another cabinet full of hair and beautification products).

Is there anything you can’t resist spending your money on? Do you bulk-buy certain product lines?

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A PF Confession in lieu of a spending report.

This is kind of a hard post to write. I was laying awake a few nights ago feeling guilty about my most recent spending binge, and as I tend to do, I started snowballing. Eventually, I came to the realization that my spending is symptomatic of how I’m feeling in my personal life. I’m living above my means. I have money in my savings and will use it (along with my fun fund, because lord knows I had a lot of fun buying the stuff) to cover the gap, but the fact remains that I’m not actually spending within my paycheque constraints at the moment. I can’t handle the tightness in my chest anymore. I need to relax, and the way to do that is with a spending plan and some self-control. I received overtime pay from October to March, had a three-paycheque month in May, got my tax refund, and received my retroactive pay. There’s no more additional money coming in beyond my paycheques, and I need to check myself before I wreck myself. That’s not to say I didn’t use the extra money for my savings, but I definitely spent a lot of it too. I believe in using your money to have fun and live a little, but when it comes at the expense of other savings goals, then you have a problem. Continue reading

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