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The Power of “The Pause”


Impulse buying. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a chocolate bar at the check out counter, or an $80 umbrella we found online at 2 AM. Impulse buying is something many people don’t account for in their budget and also listed as one of the top reasons people overspend by NY Money Coach, Carrie Birgbauer.

“Human beings are highly motivated by pleasure and pain. People seek release from tension in a variety of ways including spending money on food, drinks, clothes, electronics, travel, entertainment, hobbies, and more.”

I know personally, when something negatively impacts my emotional state, I look for external sources of relief—a way of “checking out” mentally. Feeling negative emotions is uncomfortable and most people can’t sit with them. So we tend to look for a source of pleasure amongst that pain. It can come in many forms including spending. So yes, retail therapy is a real thing. But one problem: it is a temporary solution. Sure, a new outfit or gadget will make you feel better in the moment, maybe even hours after, but eventually whatever problem you are dealing with internally will resurface, and now you will have less money and one extra thing you probably don’t need.

How to fight it? It’s simple. It’s called the PAUSE. In the moment where you get broken up with, and want to book a trip to Bali or buy $500 boots, just wait a minute. Identify whether this is a want, or a NEED. Pause, and ask yourself these simple questions:

“Does it need to be bought?”
“Does it need to be bought by me?”
“Does it need to be bought now?”

If you stop and think, it is probably something you can absolutely do without. You will probably find that devil on your shoulder trying to rationalize it, but tell yourself: “If this is still something I want to buy, I will budget for it and buy it in a week (or whatever timeframe you allot for yourself).”

If you still need a stress reliever, seek a healthy source of escape. Go for a run, call a friend to hang out, watch an entire series of a TV show online etc. All of these things can bring you the same sense of joy that an impulse buy can bring, but they don’t break the bank, and will have a more positive effect on your life than an impulse purchase will. Once the feeling is gone, you can feel good about not acting on impulse, saving money, and walking boldly and bravely through your feelings!

You’ll be surprised on how much you can save when you apply the power of the pause to your impulses.

This is a post by Kelli DiFazio.

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