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5 ways to strengthen your spending control

Need to strengthen your financial control? Here’s 5 things you can do to stop yourself hitting ‘pay now’, from psychologist Kate Nightingale.

Zopa’s new credit card contains lots of tools to help you take control of your money (Representative APR 34.9%) ,  but when we’re bombarded with online ads and, let’s face it, don’t always have much else to do, it can still be hard to control impulse buying.

Control is like a muscle, consumer psychologist Kate Nightingale tells us. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get, (and the more pleased you’ll be with your bank balance at the end of the month.) So, we asked Kate for her five-step workout plan to get your control muscle and your spending in to shape.

 Next time your finger is hovering over the ’pay now’ button, take a breath and work through this 5 step spending control workout instead..

Sit up straight

Physical movement distracts from the desire to buy and improves your mood, so you’ll be less likely to impulse buy. Don’t like exercise? Just focus on your posture, for example make sure you sit straight at your desk. Good posture has been linked to higher self-control and lower impulsivity.

Consult your family or friends (aka your executive shopping board).

 Ask your family (or trusted friends) for honest advice on things you are considering to buy. You can even get them to vote on it. If nothing else, waiting for them to reply will help you delay the impulse and gain new perspective.

Get ‘touchy feely’ with money

When we use cards and phones to pay, your brain doesn’t feel like you’ve spent any money. Writing down each expense can help you get tactile with money and control how much you’re spending. You can even set yourself weekly targets for various categories like food and drink, clothes, going out etc. Think how good it will feel when you’re under the limit at the end of the week.

Chocolate Meditation

Grab a piece of chocolate. Wait! Don’t eat it yet! Smell it first. Identify the aromas and indulge in them. Then look at its colour and texture. Feel how it might be melting in your fingers. Then take a small bite and allow it to melt in your mouth. Get lost in the taste and the texture. Feel the aftertaste. Ready to grab another bite? Go ahead. Just make sure to savour it. Now, do you still want to buy that product you felt drawn to?

Compare the value

You feel the urge to buy this jumper for £50. But what else can you do with this money? Go for a dinner with your partner or treat yourselves to a home delivery? Buy toys for your children or pets? Book that language course you always wanted to take? Which of the options you thought about is most exciting? Pick the one that makes you happiest and offers you the feeling of most value for the expense.

Is your spending under control or does it occasionally take on a life of its own? Take our quiz to find out if you’re a Complete Control Cat, who’s always on top of their spending or a YOLO flamingo, who just wants to live their best life, and many more in between!