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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Impulse buying an enemy of good financial management

30th December 2011

Debt ridden Restituta, 35, (not her real name), is normally the happiest worker whenever she notices that her monthly salary has been credited into her bank account.

Inspite of her reasonably big salary, Restituta, who has two children, an employee of a local bank, would withdraw over three quarters of her salary, the same day it is posted in bank account ledgers.

The problem with the banker is one of impulse buying. Because of her lavish spending, her salary hardly takes two weeks. After that, she would venture into occasional borrowing from friends until the next salary is landed in her hands.

“My wife is a slave to impulse buying. She would buy any thing that impresses her as long as she has money in her purse,” says Noah Mollel (not real name).

“For sometime now, she has been messing up our long time financial plans,” he says,adding that if it wasn’t his restraint –a trend he says he has been maintaining all along,the couple would have parted ways.

“If my wife hadn’t been lavish in the way she spends her income,we would already be owning a building plot somewhere,says soft spoken Mollel.

Every morning before she goes to work, Restituta, a resident of Nguvumali-a location that runs almost parallel with the Tanga-Moshi highway, searches her purse and makes sure there is enough money for her lunch in the city and a reasonable balance for her shopping errands after working hours..

But Restituta, later realized that her tendency to buy items from shops on impulse, was making her perpetually broke. She then decided to make a U turn, though she admits the going was extremely rough.

“When I identified impulse buying as culprit holding back my financial independence, I took courage with the help of my husband, to quit the habit though it was an uphill task to do so at first,” she said recently.

Restituta, whose husband is an employee of a sisal growing company in the city, still has memories of her financial woes but advises people to fight back any urge to impulse buying.

Paul Anthony, a city resident, says that some people will spend money on any thing that comes their way, even when they do not have any specific goals.

“But once a person makes plans and sticks to it, he or she learns to distinguish between important financial goals and unnecessary items,” says Anthony.-a petty businessman.

“I have come across couples constantly grumbling over impulse buying by either of the couple,” he says, adding that it is, in effect, rather difficult to abandon such habit, saying in such cases, restraint by one of the partners is the most suitable trait.

Joackim Mathayo, a tax consultant, warns against engaging in shopping sprees without budget, saying the tendency encourages people to buy things they don’t urgently need.

“To control impulse buying, people should develop a culture of buying items in cash. People should, under no circumstances, carry with them large sums of money whenever they go to town’, he lectures.

“Whenever one sets out for shopping – even to a market place, one should prepare a shopping list- one detailing what one intends to buy at the market and strictly abide by what is contained therein, carrying only the relevant amount .’

Financial experts advise people to list things they want to buy or financial commitments they want to make, at least two weeks before actual spending.

“The idea is to be able to think critically on how the intended purchases qualify for buying, particularly where the items intended for purchase involve large amounts of money ,” according to an economist.

Others are of the view that people who are lavish spenders, should avoid, as much as possible their children’s company whenever they go shopping to avoid buying toys etc. to make them happy-in the process draining the individual’s purse.

“Children will always want new items bought for them. In most cases they would mention a colleague or two in the same back ground where they live who has this or that item,’says Christine Chaligha, a city business executive.

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