Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Impulse purchases are products—food, clothing, entertainment-related items, and the like—that you don’t plan to buy ahead of time but that you go home with anyway. While these small buys might seem harmless, if they’re a regular habit, they can eat up big parts of your budget that otherwise could go toward paying down debts or building up emergency savings. One solution is to declare a 30-day delay on all impulse purchases.
Here are some of the benefits of using a 30-day delay, how you can make it stick, and ways to repurpose the money you save with it.
Understanding the 30-day delay
Picture yourself in a department store looking for new pants to replace a pair you’ve worn out. You find the perfect pair, but then you see a jacket you like and decide, on a whim, to treat yourself to it as well. You may feel great about this until you get home and realize that your purchase was entirely unnecessary. This is where the 30-day delay comes into play.
The key is to recognize the jacket as an impulse, not a need, and to decide right then not to buy it. Instead, leave the store with only your original, intended purchase, and then wait 30 days to revisit the extra item. If, after a month, you still want it, then go ahead and buy it. But the odds are that you will have gotten over your initial desire and no longer see the point in buying it.
How to use a delay
Impulse purchases depend on catching you off guard, often with prominent displays or “can’t miss” sale prices. By walking away and waiting a month to consider buying something, you take the element of surprise out of the equation and give yourself a chance to make the best decision for yourself and your finances.
Often, an impulse purchase may be a product you like but don’t actually need, such as a new pair of headphones or a bottle of soda. Some, like snacks, are easy to forget, but others may linger in your mind even a month later. You may want to use the 30 days while you’re thinking about whether to make that purchase to read customer reviews or find a discount code to save more money.
To give yourself the best chance of success, limit the 30-day delay technique to impulse purchases only. Waiting to pay your mortgage or loan payments, or even putting off a necessary winter coat purchase in December, is not wise. Just remember, impulses are damaging because they are not planned. If you want to treat yourself to a nice dinner or small gift, then do so—but prep your finances for it first. If you can make this delay a habit, you may find yourself having more money in your bank account on a regular basis.
Make the most of your savings
To truly benefit from the 30-day delay technique, you’ll need to make use of the extra money you’ll accrue from avoiding impulse purchases. That money may not do much good if it just sits in your account. Consider that if you have student loans, a car loan, a mortgage, or other debts, you may want to put the money you’ve saved toward that instead. If you are debt-free, you can put the money into an emergency fund or retirement savings.
Once you’ve been able to stick with this technique for several months, check your credit report to see what effect your new habit might be having on your credit. If, as a result of following this delay, you owe less in loans and carry a lower balance on your credit cards, you might have a lower credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you use compared to the total amount available to you), which can impact your overall credit score.
Keep this strategy in mind the next time you go to the store and see whether employing a 30-day delay can help you cut down on unnecessary impulse purchases.
Frugal Living For Real Life: Lessons From Personal Finance Blogs
Hack Your Finances: How to Manage Life’s Biggest Expenses By Decade
How I Save Money By Comparison Shopping for Groceries
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.