More tips to avoid impulse buying



In the last column, we featured the first of NERDWALLET’s five tips on how to avoid impulse shopping during the next vacation (actually anytime). The advice was to wait 24-48 hours before buying something you know you don’t need. Here are four more tips:

– If you are a regular reader of this column, this one will not surprise you. “… People spend a lot more money when they use their credit cards instead of cash, so keep a cash envelope to use in areas where you tend to overspend, like eating out.” “

You may remember that study which showed that people were willing to spend up to 40% more on game or concert tickets if they could use a credit card instead of cash!

– If this is a free service, consider using curbside pickup for the things you need, to avoid being in the store and being bombarded with all of these strategies marketing from retailers who can encourage you to buy more items that you don’t have. no need.

– Give yourself permission to make impulse purchases by giving yourself a madness allowance per store that you can afford that won’t throw you into credit card debt and never exceed that allowance. Eventually, NERDWALLET says you might find yourself reducing the allowance over time.

– Get an accountability partner. We talked about it in this column. Having to explain your intended purchase can lead you to look at it more objectively and in terms of how it might affect your overall budget and financial plan.

On another topic, there have finally been some significant developments in the area of ​​student debt cancellation programs. I tell students that if they are faced with large student loan debt, start looking early, and before they graduate, for any loan cancellation or repayment programs they might take advantage of. These may include an employer benefit program to repay certain debts and the federal public service loan forgiveness program. I’m also talking about the importance of making sure that you fully understand all the details and requirements of such a program.

In this regard, we have all heard, or even some of them, of the many people enrolled in the Public Service Program who made payments for the required 10 years, but then did not have their debt canceled. because they were told that in fact they had the wrong type of federal loan or repayment plan. Without going into details, only around 5,500 borrowers (around 10% of applicants) have had their loans canceled by the program which began in 2017. To its credit, the Biden administration is making some temporary changes until October 2022 which will make many of those 90% of applicants eligible for loan cancellation. Bottom line: If you’re one of those candidates, go for it!

On another topic, we continue to hear about the need to raise the debt ceiling in December from members of Congress and Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury. Sometimes there seems to be a lot to be done for nothing because, according to, Congress has changed the debt ceiling, the legal limit on the amount of money the United States government is allowed to borrow to meet. its legal obligations. bonds, a total of 78 times since 1960 – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

It’s actually quite complicated, but the simple “obvious” reason put forward by proponents of raising the debt ceiling again is that Congress has already authorized the expenses that must be borrowed to pay. how could Congress’ cost projections be so consistently wrong, or did he always know that the spending he authorized would have to be paid for with additional debt?

On another subject, we all now know that gasoline prices are at their highest for seven years. As I drive and see so many prices between $ 3.39 and $ 3.49 per gallon for the regular, I smile as I drive on $ 2.97 per gallon gasoline from Walmart to Henrietta. By the way, speaking of price increases, if you haven’t heard it, inflation is going to be with us for a while longer than we thought. We see it every day in the grocery store, from the cost of cat food to the cost of coffee to the cost of ground beef. I don’t buy a lot of our groceries, my wife does, but I can’t think of anything that isn’t more expensive than it was a few months ago.

Seniors will get help with their budgets with the 5.9% cost of living increase now finalized for 2022, and with labor shortages, many more Americans could get help. helps with their budgets with higher salaries, but everyone will certainly feel the effects of inflation, including the expected large increase in utility costs in the future.

I just hope everyone is paying attention and trying to find ways to keep the budget balanced.

On another topic, driving in Cleveland earlier last week, we drove past a tractor-trailer that had a large sign on the back saying more than $ 2,500 a week after spending. Work in the restaurant business and many other industries no longer looks so appealing.

Let’s end with one of these interesting surveys from “14% of millennial mortgage holders (aged 25-40) say they would use their home equity to finance their vacations, against only 4% of Generation X (aged 41 to 56). ) and 3% of baby boomers with mortgage loans (57-75 years old). Likewise, 10% of millennials say they would take money out of their homes for non-essential purchases, such as electronics or a boat, compared to 3% for both Gen X and Baby Boomers with a mortgage.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at



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