You’ve just seen something you absolutely must-have. You didn’t know you needed it before, but now that you’ve seen it, you can practically already picture it among your belongings. So you buy it. Even though you weren’t planning on spending the money. We’ve all been there. Impulsive buying can be dangerous for our wallets. sometimes we end up spending money that we definitely shouldn’t have. But how do we prevent this? How do we stop impulse purchases before they happen? if you need a bit of a hand stopping the impulse buying in its tracks then we can help.
What is an impulse purchase?
An impulse purchase is a purchase that you make anytime you weren’t actually planning to buy anything. It can come in all shapes or forms from food and clothing to bigger purchases like technology and even care or vehicles. If it isn’t planned for in your budget then it counts as an impulse purchase.
Why do we impulse buy?
One of the main overriding reasons we are prone to impulse buying is because of emotions. Generally, people will impulse buy something because it makes them feel good. This could be because the item makes someone feel better about themselves or it could help dampen out negative or unhappy thoughts.
There’s also the idea of “loss aversion” that marketers and stores have clued onto. Loss aversion is the idea of buying something now in order to avoid feeling bad about something in the future. Anyone who has been worried that they’ll miss out on a huge sale will be familiar with the psychology behind this concept. We impulse buy in order to avoid missing out on a deal, even if realistically we don’t need the item. A sense of urgency is driving our impulse purchases. This can also be likened to the fear of missing out.
There’s nothing quite like a good sale. When it comes to an impulse purchase, there’s no culprit like a good sale. These sales are a marketing tactic. Clever marketers know that putting on sales makes you think you’re getting a great deal. This then encourages you to make a purchase you never had any intention of making. You think you’ve scored a deal and saved a bunch of money when in reality you’ve lost money on an impulse purchase.
Our top 10 tips to stop impulse buying
Make a budget and stick to it
Setting yourself a budget and sticking to it is probably one of the most important, and most difficult aspects of not impulse buying. With a little determination though, it can be done. Know how much money you have spare to spend and don’t go over that figure. If it isn’t already budgeted for or you’ve reached your weekly or monthly limit then don’t spend the money. You can always get it the next time you get paid if you have the spare cash for it then.
Spend some time thinking about the purchase before committing
Rather than dropping money straight away and walking out the shop (or online checkout) with your purchase without even thinking about it, why not give yourself a bit of time to really think about the item, before you buy it? You’ll find that with a day or two of thought behind you, you may not want the item as much as you initially thought you did. If you still want it though, go ahead and see if it’s in your budget. Be smart about how you buy it.
Shop with a plan and list in mind
If you’re trying to avoid impulse buying it’s a great idea to think about what you need before you go shopping. Create a list and do your best to stick to it. Know your rough budget and be sure to keep this plan in mind when you’re ready to hit the shops. This list can encompass everything from grocery shopping, clothes shopping, or gift shopping and is a great way to stay on track and avoid unnecessary purchases.
Beware of signing up for too many email lists
Those sales emails that turn up in your inbox are like ticking time bombs. They catch you unawares and create a sense of urgency. Before you know it, you’ve hit complete purchase and spent a bunch of money you hadn’t even thought about before you opened your emails. Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe to these promotional emails.
Only take the cash you intend on spending
Figure out how much cash you’re gonna need before you head out shopping and only take that amount in cash. You can even leave your credit and debit cards at home if you don’t trust yourself not to reach into the wallet for an unplanned purchase. Stick to your list and budget and you won’t have any spare cash to make that impulse purchase.
Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’
Be honest with yourself. Do you want that shiny new item because you think it will enrich your life, or do you want to because you saw someone else with it and you want to look as cool as they do? Simply put, stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, try taking a step back and being grateful for what you do have. Consider if you actually need the item or if you would be perfectly happy without it.
Keep your goals in mind
If you’re saving for a big purchase, trying to pay off some debt, paying off your mortgage, or working towards building your savings account then curtailing your impulse spending habit is a great way to reach those goals faster. Impulse purchases and overspending are a quick way to not achieving these goals. Next time you’re confronted with a situation where impulse purchases are involved why not take a second to think about your bigger goals. You’ll find that in the long run, you’d rather put off making the purchase and will instead think about your financial future.
Avoid using credit cards
Credit cards are notorious when it comes to impulse purchases. They create an “I’ll deal with it later” mentality that can be hard to break out of. Not only can this lead to a lot of unnecessary impulse purchases but can be a quick way to getting yourself into unwanted debt as well if you spend more than you earn. Rather than letting yourself get into this trap, leave the credit cards at home and avoid using them for impulse purchases. Credit cards can be great tools in the right context. Put them away for a rainy day in case you need to pay for emergency expenses unexpectedly.
Don’t buy anything that can’t be returned
Sometimes the most tempting impulse purchases are the ones that we can’t return. If you do end up giving in to the urge and making an impulse purchase, try to avoid the sales that are non-returnable. You know the purchases were talking about. The “final markdown clearance” sales. There’s often a reason that an item has ended up at such a tempting clearance price. You don’t want to end up regretting your purchase and being unable to return it. Do yourself a favor and pass over the final sales.
Plan your shopping sprees
This may sound a little counterproductive. Shopping spree? Yes! Avoiding impulse purchases does not mean you have to ban yourself from buying things entirely. It just means you need to start being smart about how and when you spend your money. If you want to go out and buy some new clothes or new technology, then give yourself permission to buy those things. Limiting yourself entirely will do yourself no favors in the long run. Instead, plan for something that you want or need to buy and put aside a bit of money for it. That way, when you do go out and treat yourself, you won’t be breaking the bank but you will still be able to get the things you want.
Stopping an impulse purchase begins with control and clarity
There’s no doubt that spending money can be a lot of fun. But the fun never lasts, especially when you realize just how much money you’re potentially spending, all without even thinking about it. If you’re ready to curb your impulse buying habit and put a stop to unexpected purchases then start implementing some of the above tips. Being financially healthy starts with having self-control and sticking to a well-planned budget. From this control, you’ll realize just how much money you can be saving when you learn how to stop an impulse purchase.