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Out of sight, out of mind: it’s a theory most of us are all too familiar with when it comes to spending money. But it’s one that can have a damaging effect on how much we save.

That little piece of plastic makes our lives much easier, but it can also make us much more careless when it comes to spending.

With the introduction of contactless payments, it’s easier to spend more and therefore save less. It all stems from our psychological relationship with money. To become better savers, we need to learn to manage our willpower.

Leeds Building Society has teamed up with Consultant psychologist and author of Willpower for Dummies, Dr Frank Ryan to provide tips on how to master the art of willpower and use plastic in a clever and strategic way and what to do if you do find yourself in a situation where you’re likely to spend with a debit or credit card.

  1. Distract yourself

If you come across a spending opportunity whether online or while out shopping, aim to distract yourself. The impulse to buy something is usually short lived, and can dissipate after 5 or 10 minutes.”

“If you’re at the shops, simply walk away, remove yourself from the situation and think about the purchase you were about to make. Do you need it? Can you afford it? Will your life be enhanced if you buy it? These are all questions you should ask yourself first.

“If you’re tempted by an online purchase, take your mind off it. Pick up an adult colouring book or crossword. You’ll soon forget about those shoes that ended up in your basket.

  1. Accept

Think about all those times you’ve bought non-essential items and ask yourself, how long does that good feeling last? It will make you feel good now, but later you’ll be paying an extra monthly bill or a larger credit card payment.

“Take a look at previous statements and try to determine all those non-essential purchases. How much could you have saved if you’d avoided unnecessary spending? Confront those impulse buys of the past and use them as a wakeup call for the future.”

  1. Avoid shopping when feeling emotional

“Emotions distort decision making, because they deplete willpower. To avoid this, try phoning and catching up with an old friend, you’ll soon forget about spending money. Making plans is another great way to distract yourself from spending. Think about your weekend or holiday plans and those dates in your calendar which you’re really looking forward to.”

For more tips on how to avoid impulse buying with a credit or debit card and information on why plastic is making us spend more, visit: .

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