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How to Save Money With the 30-Day Rule

Saving money doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of everything on your wish list. Instead, here’s how you can save hundreds of dollars just by waiting 30 days.

What is the 30-day rule to save money?

The 30-day rule is one of the simplest rules you can use to manage your finances – anytime you catch yourself in the act of making an impulse purchase, stop. Instead, wait a full 30 days before re-entering the store or re-opening the tab to check out. 

After the 30-day period, you’ll be facing one of three scenarios:

  • You forget about the purchase, or the item sells out
  • You no longer feel the need to make the purchase 
  • You still want to make the purchase 

Let’s say you completely forget about the jacket that was added to your cart 30 days ago. Or maybe it’s no longer available in your size, or you just don’t feel compelled to make the purchase after waiting so long already – congrats, you just saved yourself from spending a few hundred dollars on what would’ve been an impulse buy.

On the other hand, if you still want to check out, go for it. Chances are that you’ll get enough value out of the jacket, and it wasn’t as big of an impulse as you had suspected.

How to use the 30-day rule to save money

Although the 30-day rule is a simple concept, there are a few steps you can take to increase its effectiveness. By identifying which purchases can wait a full 30 days, allocating your funds into a savings account, and budgeting your money properly, you’ll be able to take your money management to the next level. 

Identify impulse purchases

Let’s be real – the 30-day rule can’t be used for every purchase you make. Necessities, such as your groceries, rent, tenant insurance and even your car insurance, won’t work in conjunction with the rule. And even after determining all your wants, it’s probably not the best idea to wait 30 days before dining out or going to see a movie. 

Therefore, it's important to identify when you really should and shouldn't use the 30-day rule. Typically, the rule is best used for purchases that can wait and haven't been planned for ahead of time (e.g. clothes, shoes, home decor). For instance, if you catch yourself browsing the internet for sales or window shopping at the mall, this could be a good time to mark your calendar and come back the following month, instead. 

Use a savings account to create a leisure fund

You can also place the money in a high-interest savings account while you wait for the full 30 days to allow the funds to accrue interest while you wait. That way, you'll be able to ensure you have enough money (and more) when it’s time to make the purchase, if you do decide to do so. 

And conversely if you determine that the item is no longer of need, you can keep this money in your savings account to incrementally generate a leisure fund overtime. So if you’re ever suddenly in need of a new laptop because you spilled coffee on yours or you simply want a guilt-free date night, your leisure fund has you covered. 

Budget in conjunction

The whole reasoning behind the 30-day wait is to save money, so setting a budget in conjunction with the rule can help you reach your financial goals quicker. For instance, you can try decreasing your monthly budget incrementally because you’re planning to cut down on impulse spending. And it works both ways – by creating a tighter budget, you’ll be more inclined to use the rule more often. 

READ: How to budget for your next big purchase 

The bottom line

So the next time you catch yourself impulsively buying a pair of shoes, the new iPad Pro, or maybe even a vacation, you know what to do. By giving yourself a full 30 days to think your purchasing habits through, you’ll be able to see your spending decline and your savings grow.