What Is The 30-Day Rule? (And How To Crush It Saving Money)

what is the 30 day rule

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Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by Chris Panteli

What Exactly Is The 30 Day Rule?

Saving money is not always easy! That’s why it’s great to incorporate a number of techniques in your efforts to improve and maintain financial health.

What Is The 30 Day Rule?

The 30-day rule in its simplest form is a technique used in order to reduce or eliminate impulsive spending. Although the rule has a number of practical and relatable applications outside of personal finance, this is, without doubt, the most common.

A 30 day ‘grace period of waiting’ and thoughtful consideration is taken before any final transactional decision is made. This would almost always be between the time in which a ‘buying thought’ is initiated and any conclusive financial transaction takes place.

What Is The 30 Day Rule For Saving Money Method?

30-day rule clock on coins saving money

The 30-day rule for saving money is an attempt to reduce impulsive spending and thus allow for the saver to retain a larger portion of their disposable income. This could be for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Increasing the size of an emergency fund
  • Reducing existing debt levels
  • Provide more flexibility within a budget
  • Embark upon on more frugal and minimalistic lifestyle

I must confess, prior to my financial enlightenment (which did not occur until my late 20’s) I would have been very much categorized as an impulse spender. And the highlight of my impulsivity would have to be the unnecessary purchase of an outdoor inflatable jacuzzi.

88.6% of Americans have succumbed to the temptations of impulse shopping, with the average consumer spending $81.75 per session or $17.78 billion per year.

I had seen it in a shop prominently displayed at the entrance to ‘suck in’ the impulse buyers not equipped with the 30-day rule technique. For $400 it seemed like a bargain considering how much a decent jacuzzi actually costs. But that was the problem.

The product was garbage.

It took 14 hours to heat up to a temperature only slightly warmer than the water out of the hose pipe.

Had I have used the 30-day rule to consider the pros and cons of this purchase I would have been spared the agony of parting with a considerable sum of money for something I didn’t need and consequently didn’t even want!

30 Day Rule Timeline Tips Chart

It’s all well and good waiting 30-days before making any major purchasing decisions, but what are you meant to do over that time period?

Well, it’s essential to use the time wisely and allow for the process to work the way in which it was intended. That’s why I like to split the time period up into 3 sections:

30-day rule timeline tips infographic

You can be flexible with how you handle the 30-day rule, but using the time to make better and more informed decisions will lead to better spending habits and a healthier-looking wallet.

Why Should You Use The 30 Day Rule

30-day-rule-no-money

Incredibly, nearly 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 saved.

Having access to savings comes with a myriad of advantages, but not just from a personal finance perspective. Of course, it’s great to have a ‘financial’ cushion for when unexpected bills or emergencies arise, but more importantly, it provides emotional and psychological stability for life in general.

In the U.S. 78 percent of workers live paycheck to paycheck in order to make ends meet

Just being on top of your finances makes everything else that’s going on in life a little bit easier. When I split with my fiancee of 7 years, our financial situation was a mess. And although the emotional impact of the breakup took a little time to heal, sorting out the finances took far longer!

And I can tell you, it was much more stressful than becoming newly single again.

And so if you are someone with low levels of savings, low disposable income, high monthly outgoings, and lacks good overall financial oversight, then ask yourself some important questions.

  1. Do you take the time to budget your income and expenses on a regular basis?
  2. Are you actively engaged in strategies to reduce your expenses and minimize your outgoings?
  3. Do you plan for your financial future and take into account personal habits?
  4. Is your ability to save money impeded by impulsive spending habits?

Impulsive buying may just be a small part of the overall picture that’s affecting your ability to effectively save money. But the 30-day rule may help you to address this issue, and consequently improve further aspects of your personal financial situation.

Psychology of Impulsive Buying

Psychology of Impulsive Buying

The main purpose of the 30-day rule is to prevent impulsive buying personality types from overspending. There are many underlying reasons that can lead to impulse buying, including anxiety and unhappiness. But learning how to control this behavior can lead to an improvement in wellbeing and save you money.

80% of younger shoppers make impulse purchases online

The 30-day rule forces you to step away from impulsive behaviors and to give thoughtful consideration to any possible purchases. The great thing about the technique is that it does not prevent you from being able to buy what you want.

You’re not going cold turkey on spending money.

Instead, the process attempts to make you self-aware of these destructive spending behaviors in order to prevent purchases (and consequently the depletion of disposable income) that you may later regret. And this can only be good for your wallet, bank balance, and overall financial health.

6 Signs You’re An Impulse Spender

6 Signs You're An Impulse Spender

You may already be the sort of person that agonizingly researches and questions before parting with your money. My dad can take months to decide which batteries offer the best value for money when the TV remote is on the fritz.

If however, you don’t demonstrate these behavior characteristics, then the 30-day money-saving rule might be an excellent weapon for your money-saving arsenal.

Here are 6 signs that you might be an impulsive spender:

  • You crave instant satisfaction
  • You frequently return your impulse purchases
  • Buying things makes you forget your financial problems
  • You have the inner monologue that ‘you deserve it’
  • Shopping provides you with stress relief
  • You compare yourself to others

If you can relate to any of these character traits then it is definitely worth considering the implementation of the 30-day rule.

Cash Only Challenge

Cash Only Challenge

Did you know you are far more likely to spend more with a credit card than you are with cash?

A study by MIT’ Drazen Prelec and Duncan Simester found shoppers spend up to 100% more when using their credit card to pay compared to cash.

So it’s a really good idea to implement a cash-only challenge alongside the 30-day rule. Try reducing your credit card usage for a week and see if you can develop a cash-only spending habit increasingly more over time.

This is a great way to stimulate the 30-day rule as well, especially for larger purchases. If you have managed to stick to a cash-only style of payments, then when you are confronted with an appealing purchase, the chances of having enough cash on you will be slim. And this will force the initiation of the 30-day rule – which in turn should provide a better motivation to see it through till the end.

Tips To Manage Your 30 Day Waiting Period

Tips To Manage Your 30 Day Waiting Period

Ultimately, the 30-day rule is a strategy aimed to change your overall spending habits. And this will most likely not happen overnight. Especially if you’re a serial impulse spender!

The key to success is continuous implementation over a long period of time. And as with any habit forming it will eventually stick!

I have managed to avoid some crazy impulse purchases over the years and my bank balance has never been healthier. Also, the buyer’s remorse you feel after spending money on something you didn’t really need, or worst, want, is definitely not missed.

Remember, it’s no good just waiting one day and then buying the thing anyway. The whole point of the 30 days is to provide sufficient time to mull over the potential purchase and weight up the pros and cons – eventually resulting in a more reasoned decision and outcome.

Here are some helpful tips and tricks you can use to increase your chances of using the 30-day rule and seeing it through till the end!

  • Keep Your Budget In Mind – If you are taking your personal finance seriously then you are definitely maintaining a household budget (if you’re not, then check out my awesome 165 Page Budget Planner). Knowing that your budget requires discipline and that you are accountable for your actions should encourage you to use the 30-day rule in order to keep your budget on track.
  • Budget The Impulse – Instead of totally depriving yourself of the impulse urge, simply trick your mind into thinking it can still spend on a whim. Set aside a portion of your monthly budget and form a new budget category called ‘splurge’. And then every month you have the option to spend this allocated amount of funds on whatever you want. This keeps your budget on track and still gives you a hit of impulsive spending.
  • Track Your Progress – The ultimate goal of using the 30-day rule is to save more money by reducing unnecessary spending. So every month check your savings accounts and compare them to the previous month. If you are growing your savings at a faster rate than before, then you’ll know it’s working.

Honey Droplist Hybrid Method

Honey Droplist Hybrid Method

Fundamentally the 30-day rule is a tool used to eliminate impulse spending. But that doesn’t mean to say every time you use the rule you won’t end up deciding that in fact, buying is the right decision.

That is why I developed the Honey Droplist Hybrid Method.

Honey is a fantastic tool that essentially works in the background via your browser. It’s an extension that automatically scours the web for discount codes and vouchers that can be applied to your cart whilst you’re online shopping.

It’s saved me a ton of money and if you haven’t got it then I suggest you add Honey to your browser now. But discounts and vouchers aren’t the only things Honey can do. It also has an incredible facility called Droplist, whereby you can add products you’ve had your eye on and Honey will automatically inform you when it identifies a price drop.

You can add items from over 200 stores

So when you are starting your 30-days of waiting, the first thing you should do is check to see if the product can be added to Honey’s Droplist. This way, over the 30 days you will be informed as to any price movements of that particular product – and this, in turn, will provide you with more information on which to base your purchasing decision.

Related: How to Save Loads Of Money With Honey

How To Handle Time Sensitive Purchases

How To Handle Time Sensitive Purchases

We have all been in a situation when a deal seems too good to be true. And in fact, sometimes, you do need to move fast in order to lock in a great price or a time-sensitive deal.

And this is where the 30-day rule can become slightly unstuck.

As a blogger, I am often bombarded with blogging courses and tools at time-sensitive discounts. And in many cases, this is just clever marketing designed to generate sales. And this is especially effective on ‘impulse buyers’.

But for certain courses that I have previously researched and considered purchasing, I am sometimes confronted with a very attractive time-sensitive offer. Recently, a course I have been wanting to purchase for a while was on offer for 50% off the usual price for a 3 day period.

In this situation, the 30-day rule would have only prevented me from buying it. And whilst this undoubtedly would have saved me money, the fact that I wanted the course would have resulted in a much higher opportunity cost – that being 50% higher than it could have been if I eventually decided to buy at a later date.

Therefore, I will often use these caveats for the 30-day rule when an offer, sale, or promotion is time-sensitive.

  • Reduce the 30-day rule waiting time to as long as the time-sensitive offer will allow – so if the offer expires in 3 days, you wait 3 days to make your decision.
  • Only initiate the aforementioned exemption if you have previously researched the product and fully understand the value it offers.

I find sticking to these simple guidelines prevents succumbing to these clever marketing tactics that can often be so appealing. And for impulse buyers especially, can really be quite costly.

30 Day Rule Spare Change Savings Hack

acorns spare change

The 30-rule is definitely a proven method that can help reduce and eliminate impulsive spending. But in order to truly skyrocket your savings, it’s best to use a multitude of strategies simultaneously.

One of my favorite passive money saving techniques is to automate investments with spare change round-ups.

What Is The 30-Day Rule? (And How To Crush It Saving Money)What Is The 30-Day Rule? (And How To Crush It Saving Money)

Acorns is a one-stop-shop for your life’s financial needs and is the smart way to grow your wealth over time. It is a low-cost way to gain exposure to the financial markets and invest your money in diversified hand-picked portfolios.

Also, Acorns is the only micro-investing platform that allows you to invest your spare change – all done via its automated round-ups.

In less than 5 minutes you can link your debit or credit card account to the Acorns platform and have all your purchases rounded up to the next dollar amount – and this will then be auto-invested in your desired portfolio.

There are five different portfolio options to choose from so it caters to everyone’s tolerance to risk – from conservative all the way up to aggressive. All five investment portfolios are designed to maximize your returns depending on your risk appetite.

The great thing about Acorns is you can also choose to invest as little as $5 any time you want or on a recurring basis. So when your financial situation is looking good, you can make the decision to move equity into well-diversified investments.

The 30-days rule is certainly an excellent physiological tool to evade expensive and unnecessary impulse spending – but to truly rock your finances, using a tool like Acorns can take you to the next level.

More Ways To Save Money

More Ways To Save Money

The 30-day rule is one of the best tools you can use to eradicate impulsive spending – and consequently save more money by doing so. If you are able to prevent yourself from spending unnecessarily then this is money that can go into your savings account instead.

But using the 30-day rule on its own is only part of the picture. And if you really want to grow your savings you should consider using multiple tactics. There are lots of options to explore in order to save money more quickly and to cut down your expenses.

Start off slowly and introduce a few tactics alongside using the 30-day rule.

I think you’ll be surprised how much of an impact on your savings it can make.

It’s certainly working for me!

FAQs

What’s the 30-day rule with money?

The 30-day rule is a self-imposed restriction to control impulse spending. The theory is you wait 30 days before making a final purchasing decision. In that time, you have the ability to make a more informed decision and will often eliminate wasteful spending.

How can I save money fast?

The fastest way to save money is by fighting the battle on two fronts. Firstly, you need to find ways to reduce your spending by using tools like the 30-day rule and by cutting down expenses. Secondly, the savvier you can be with your spending habits and routines, and the more frugal you are, the more money you will be able to save.

Will the 30-day rule prevent me from buying stuff I need?

Definitely not. If the purchase is ultimately a good decision then after the 30 day period you should not feel any restriction to buy.

Why should you wait for 30 days?

30 days is an arbitrary amount of time that is deemed sufficient to make an informed decision and to remove any impulsive emotions you may have attached to the potential purchase.

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