Impulse shopping is a drainer on your finances and budgeting. Since money for impulse buys usually isn’t added to a budget, it’s never accounted for so it’s like throwing money down a black hole. We just buy things, usually small purchases, never giving any thought to if we really need them. And those small purchases add up to large sums of money over time. Retailers are counting on us to give in to temptation and buy those little items we’re drawn to, that’s why they put so many pretty displays by the registers. Then we take our purchases home, and because we didn’t really need them, they often sit in their bags for days or even weeks. Making a habit of impulse shopping can mean not having enough for things we really need, it can even lead to debt.
These tips will help you resist temptation so you can spend less and save more.
Impulse shopping is a bad habit, so look at it that way and figure out why you’re drawn to it.
- When are you more susceptible to buying? Is it a certain mood that makes you want to buy? Or maybe shopping with certain people who encourage you?
- Do you have lots of impulse purchases lying around that you’ve never actually used? Maybe still in their original packaging with price tags?
- Do you have several charges on your credit or debit card that you can’t remember what they’re for?
If you can relate then it’s time to get control of your impulse shopping habit. Here are some easy ways to do it:
- Go shopping alone. Your friends mean well, but they often encourage you to buy things you don’t really need. “Oh, looks perfect on you! You need it.” Sound familiar?
- Use cash. Credit and debit cards make impulse buying easy, but most people don’t carry around a lot of cash anymore. And most of us are less likely to give up the cash we have in our wallet. If you’re heading out to shop, put just a few dollars in your wallet knowing that it’s your limit for impulse purchases.
- Watch out for sales. Stores know that they can tempt you to spend a little more when they’re having sales. A great deal can be tempting, but consider if you would have made the same purchase at regular price. If it’s something you already need AND you get a good deal, then go for it. But if you’re just buying because it’s on sale, leave it behind.
- Set limits. Give yourself a limit, say $5, of the maximum you can spend on any impulse purchase without thinking it over. If the item you’re considering is over that limit, leave it behind and think about it for a day before deciding if you really want it.
Take control of your money instead of letting it control you. Impulse shopping takes your control away. Think about if you really need it and how you will use it before buying.