How a 30-day rule will change your spending habits

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Nearly 40 per cent of Australians stray from their shopping list and ‘impulse buy’ at the supermarket, a survey conducted by government finance site MoneySmart found.

Far fewer, just 29 per cent, will buy clothes they do not need. FOMO – the fear of missing out – is part of the reason someone will decide on the spur of the moment to purchase something they previously hadn’t planned to.

For some unlucky ones, it becomes as addictive as gambling can be, and before long they are swamped in debt.

One such person to whom this happened a decade ago, managed to turn his fortunes around and retire much earlier than anticipated by using the ‘30-day Rule’.

J.D. Roth takes credit for coming up with the notion that if you resist an impulse purchase for a month, you may eventually decide you don’t really want the item.

The author of popular and award-winning blog Get Rich Slowly, Roth has been described as the most inspirational, personal finance writer online.

Here is how his 30-day rule works:

  • Whenever you feel the urge to splurge – whether it’s for new shoes or a new car,­ force yourself to stop. If you’re already holding the item, put it back. Leave the store.
  • When you get home, take a piece of paper and write down the name of the item, the store where you found it, and the price. Also write down the date.
  • Now post this note some place obvious, such as a calendar, the fridge, a bulletin board.
  • For the next 30 days, think whether you really want the item, but do not buy it.
  • If, at the end of a month, the urge is still there, then consider purchasing it. (But do not use credit to do so.) 

Roth argues the strategy is effective because rather than denying yourself the chance to buy something you want, you merely postpone it. After 30 days, it is very likely you have formed a different association with the item and are quite happy to pass up buying it.

Writing the price of the item on the piece of paper can help you keep track of your non-spending. Adding up the amounts at the end of the year can be very satisfying as it shows you how much you have saved.

Are you a victim to impulse buying? Do you stick to your shopping list at the supermarket? What other techniques have you used to avoid spending on items you don’t really need?

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Written by Olga Galacho


Total Comments: 15
  1. 0

    I’m Dutch and male I don’t have an urge to spurge. I come with the looking not buying option.

  2. 0

    I wonder how I will be after not shopping for food for 30 days.

  3. 0

    Will probably send you to the psychiatric ward . At least you’ll be a rich crazy

  4. 0

    II stick with a SHOPPING LIST AND SHOP ONLINE FOR groceries. There is cut off date for purchasing .

  5. 0

    Always believed in the old adage….Is it a “Need” or is it a “Want” if it is a need you get it and if it is a want you wait.
    Used this philosophy for years and when your working with nursing staff who want the best for the patients money was always the problem.

  6. 0

    If I waited 30 days for clothes there is a 98% they will not have my size as I am tall.
    I have long arms and long legs. I find it very difficult to get things my length.

  7. 0

    I doubt J D Roth is familiar with the Aldi modus operandi. Most their customers would gladly use their mother in law as a battering ram to gain access for first pick of the weekly features. Many occasions have seen us the only customers in the first aisle, the middle features aisles meanwhile a veritable stampede of any number up to fifty acting like a herd of mad cows and testosterone charged bulls.
    Probably just another case of gimme,gimme,gimme and for those reliant on a social benefit thereafter it’s “this Govt payment is totally inadequate for me/us to survive”.

    • 0

      I had a tenant once and they were behind in their rent. So they told me that once they finish their Christmas shopping they would catch up on their rent.

    • 0

      Why would anyone assume that people chasing a bargain are ”gimme, gimme, gimme” folk on Government benefits, MD? That’s just unnecessarily nasty, denigrating and totally unsubstantiated comment and the insult to pensioners here is inexcusable. I’m sure it’s possible to comment intelligently without adding offensive statements that have no validity.

      I chase Aldi bargains occasionally. I’ve picked up some excellent bargains that have saved me a lot of money. I am NOT a pensioner and probably never will be. I know dozens of others who are not pensioners who watch for Aldi specials.

      Personally, I would never apply the 30-day rule because buying when things are on special or on sale has saved me a fortune. I only buy what I need, but I certainly watch and buy it when the price is lowest.

    • 0

      Nearly every bargain I bought from ALDI has failed so I have taken it back for a refund. I think it is rubbish.

    • 0

      Why indeed! Why does anyone assume anything about anybody – who knows, who cares. The key word is “probably” – a vague qualification but as it seems obvious that you are the self elected defender of “folk on Government benefits” (sic) then “for those reliant on a social benefit” are inclusive within the probables. It’s even possible that some (of your) “pensioners here” may fall within this category and therefore the comment doesn’t require substantiating.

      No offense was meant or implied, the issue is all in your head. Methinks thou protesteth (far) too loudly – and often.
      Your redeeming feature being “NOT a pensioner and probably (that word again) never will be”.

    • 0

      As an OAP I find the statement “not a pensioner and probably never will be” very deeming and condescending. It implies OGR thinks they are superior to OAPs yet they also defend them. This looks like inconsistency to me.

      I also know many wealthy people who recycle goods and do their thing for the environment by reusing stuff that others throw out. Had lunch with one recently and they told me that they buy recycled plates etc from the recycle centre at the local dump.must admit they gave some good stuff there.



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