Dr. April Lane Benson is a psychologist and author of "To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How To Stop."
I suffer from a phenomenon that I can only describe as my "boiling point." I scrimp and save until—BAM!—I can't take it anymore. Then I spend everything I've saved and then some—on steaks for five of my friends or a new cut and color—often landing in financial trouble (overdrafts or missed payments). Help!
—Sandra S., Madison, WI
Since you know what you're likely to splurge on when you hit the "boiling point," I'd suggest that you strike while the iron is cold! By that I mean, PLAN for an occasional splurge, by earmarking money for it every month.
Also, whenever you reach the boiling point, ask yourself the following questions:
- Has something happened in my life that is making me feel vulnerable?
- What is it that I REALLY need right now?
- Do I need to make this purchase?
These questions will give you some space between impulse and action, which is often all we need to talk ourselves down from the risky emotional and financial ledges we've put ourselves on.
Dr. April Lane Benson is a psychologist and author of "To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How To Stop." Read more of Dr. Benson's work here, and Amanda's interview with her here.