Spending your money wisely is a critical piece of financial wellness. Fewer situations create more stress than concern over finances, debt, or overspending. Over 2/3rds of adults report regular money worry. (1)

Preventing difficult money situations is the best course of action for financial health. For most of us, that means managing our spending, so we live well within our means. It’s easy to say you will spend less, but the critical step is building habits that keep unnecessary splurges at bay.

Try these six tips to be a savvy spender.

1. Create a 30-day Waitlist

When you find something you want to buy, whether during a shopping trip or online, add it to a waitlist. Once a month, look at your list and decide what purchases you really want to make and whether you have the funds to cover them.

Creating a pause between the impulse to buy and the actual spending of money allows space for sound decision-making. And it turns out waiting is good for you in more ways than one. People who practice waiting before making decisions develop more patience. (2) That means over time you will get better at waiting instead of giving in to the impulse to spend.

Create a 30-day waitlist

2. Use a List at the Grocery Store

Showing up to shop without a clear list of what you need means you will likely arrive home with more than you intended. A list not only ensures you purchase only necessary items but can also act as a set of breaks on impulse spending.

Use a list at the grocery store

3. Do Your Research

This is especially critical when making large or expensive purchases. Don’t show up at the car dealer without good information about what you need from your vehicle. Likewise, before purchasing an appliance or electronic device, research the details or get input from a friend with expertise.

Researching upfront will prevent an unsatisfactory purchase and future buyer’s remorse.

Do your research

4. Save Up to Buy Quality

Purchasing the best quality you can afford is important not only for large, expensive items like vehicles or appliances but also simple, everyday items such as clothing and household goods.

It’s easy to make a quick purchase of something inexpensive, but poor-quality items rarely last. That could mean needing to purchase the same thing again, which could cost you much more in the long run.

Save up to buy quality

5. Avoid Sales

This might seem counter-intuitive, but chances are, if you went through your home, you would find many items bought on sale that didn’t quite meet your needs. Often our closets especially are full of them.

Shopping for a sale is a wise choice when there is a specific, quality item you need. Otherwise, avoid the temptation to snag something just because it is a good deal. This is how we become a savvy spender.

Shopping for a sale is a wise choice when there is a specific, quality item you need. Otherwise, avoid the temptation to snag something just because it is a good deal.

6. Don’t Shop with Spendy Friends or Family

Most people admit they end up spending more when they shop with friends. (3) Suggest other activities you can do together instead of shopping. There are many free or inexpensive ways to connect with the people we care about, and this could make a big difference in your wallet.

Don’t shop with spendy friends or family

Good Habits Make for Controlled Spending

Like any goal, it takes time to implement these habits and reign in spending. Start small and build your way slowly to less impulsive purchasing and greater peace of mind.

Being a savvy spender comes from creating habits that set you up for success.