8 Easy Ways to Curb Your Drunken Spending Habit (Sober You Will Thank You!)

A view from the top of a group of friends tasting wine and having fun drinking.
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We have a tendency to make bad decisions while drinking. Whether you call it human nature or liquid courage, our drunk selves know no bounds when it comes to the test of intoxication.

Here’s a little test. Which have I done while drinking?

  1. Texted an ex
  2. Cartwheels in the street
  3. Made an impulse purchase
  4. All of the above

The answer is likely “d.” All of the above.

Aside from a bruised knee or ego, recovering from a drunken impulse purchase — or five — takes the longest. A late-night affair with Amazon has compounding repercussions, from overextended budgets and overdrawn accounts to long-term interest on credit cards.

Looks like I’m not the only one shopping under the influence.

Americans Spend Excessively While Drunk

Of Americans who drink regularly, 46% admit to spending while sipping, according to a survey of 2,000 American adults by shopping comparison website Finder.com.

“Who me?”

Yeah, you!

In 2016, the average drunken shopper spent $206, but 2017 said, “Hold my beer” and more than doubled that number to $447.57. That’s a jaw-dropping total of $30.43 billion in spontaneous spending while on the sauce.

Sober brains and depleted bank accounts across America collectively cry out, “Somebody help us.”

Truth is, only you can help yourself.

How to Curb Drunken Spending

Putting a few safeguards in place will keep your accounts in the black when you black out. Let’s be honest, you should probably do a couple of these just for safety’s sake.

1. Remove Any Saved Credit Card Information

Strip away convenience, and delete any saved card numbers from your mobile device and internet browsers.

Sure, it’s annoying to enter it when you’re not drinking, but remember, you’re doing this for your own good. Who knows, it might even make you reconsider your sober spending. Just keep them saved on Uber or Lyft.

2. Delete Store Apps From Your Phone

It seems like an annoying hassle to do, but if that app is a pipeline to your purchasing, delete it. Now! There’s a good chance you won’t remember your login information, or be able to add your credit card or complete a purchase while you’re tipsy. Screenshot any must-haves and reconsider them the next day.

3. Disable One-Click Shopping

This feature makes impulse shopping way too easy. Cut it out on all shopping sites on your mobile devices and computers. It’s a sneaky trick that gets you to spend, even when you’re clear-headed. This is especially important if you cannot or do not remove your saved credit and debit cards.

4. Hide Your Cards

Stash your cards somewhere you can’t access them once you start drinking. It could be in a roommate or parent’s room, or locked in a drawer at work before you hop off to happy hour.

If you’ve also removed them from your browsers and apps, there’s no chance you’re going to order that Loch Ness monster soup ladle at 2 a.m.

5. Plan Ahead and Bring Cash

You can prevent impulse spending if you hide your cards and withdraw only the cash you plan to spend for the evening. Once it runs out, you’re done. No rounds on you for the gang; no access to an ATM. Tomorrow you will appreciate it.

6. Change Your Passwords

If it’s going to be a real rager, safeguard yourself in advance by changing your login information. Write it down, hide it or store it somewhere you can’t access when you start feeling like a baller.

If you still somehow magically end up on a shopping website or app, you will not be able access your account, earn points or complete a purchase if other measures are in place. Just save it to the cart or a wishlist for you to laugh at tomorrow. Better there than on your doorstep.

7. Block Yourself

The Chrome extension StayFocused allows you to limit the amount of time you spend on distracting websites, shopping sites included. You can set a timer for a particular website, and the extension will block you from accessing the site once time is up. Granted, you could just switch browsers, but I doubt your drunk brain will be that dedicated to a Snorlax pillow.

If it is, consider setting up Cold Turkey, which basically blocks the whole internet until the timer is up. You should be in bed anyway.

8. Skip the Sauce

It’s a Captain Obvious suggestion, but if you’re going to great lengths to stop yourself from draining your accounts and buying Lucky Charms in bulk, maybe sit this round out. Not drinking will definitely save you money and stop you from spending it.

Don’t Let Buyer’s Remorse Get You

I have a friend who doesn’t get hangovers — she’s a medical anomaly. But you know what she does get? Buyer’s remorse. No one is immune to that. If you’re normal like me — in terms of getting post-drinking hangovers, that is — waking up with a throbbing head, dry mouth and a depleted bank account is one of the most regrettable feelings.

See if sober you can put drunk you to the test. The worst thing that can happen is that you have to wait until tomorrow.

Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She recently bought five wedding dresses online after drinking. It said “free returns.”

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