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Impulse Buying: 11 Steps to Stop Yourself From Spending

impulse buyingWe live in a world that is constantly urging us to buy things. Shop displays, flyers, TV ads, radio ads, social media ads, promotional emails, and in-app adverts are all convincing us to purchase products, making us believe that we need them. It’s no wonder that some of us are impulsive buyers – the temptation to spend is too much. Impulse buying can also be kind of fun. Planning out every purchase can feel restrictive – there’s exciting freedom to being able to spend money spontaneously.

Of course, impulse buying often isn’t good for us. Some of us can end up spending money we don’t have, preventing bills from getting paid on time and preventing us from saving towards important items. In other cases, an impulse buy can result in us purchasing something that we later regret. Something that seemed worth buying at the time may later prove useless or may only bring short-term enjoyment.

To stop yourself from impulse buying, you have to learn to restrain yourself financially. It is important to prioritize the things that you need. Here are some steps that could help you quit impulse buying so you can save money. 

Impulse Buying: 11 Steps to Stop Yourself From Spending 

Have you ever bought something you didn’t need but wanted it anyway so you spent unnecessary money on that item? Did you instantly regret that decision? That’s usually how it happens and you spend more money than you initially intended to. Look at some of these steps you can take to stop impulse buying.

1) Set Yourself a Budget

A budget gives you the challenge of staying within a spending limit. This forces you to weigh up the importance of purchases and conserve your money. The biggest mistakes people make when budgeting is setting the budget too high or failing to keep track of it. Weekly budgets are generally the best form of a budget – you can more easily keep track of how much you’re spending than you can with a monthly budget.

Personal finance apps can be useful for recording your budget and helping you to save money. You don’t have to guess how much money you’ve got left – you can simply check it on your phone wherever you are – and you can use the app to guide you on ways to spend less. Other people may prefer to use calendars and notebooks.

Related: 7 Tips to Making a Budget and Sticking To It

2) Make a Shopping List (and Stick to it)

Most people create shopping lists to stop them forgetting important purchases, but a shopping list can also stop you from buying things you don’t need. If you’re going grocery shopping, writing a shopping list beforehand could stop you from picking up snacks and extras that you never intended on buying. Browse if you want to, but make sure that you’re not deviating from the list. If you see things you need that aren’t on your list, make a record of them – but don’t buy them then and there. Plan a return trip – in the meantime, you may reassess how much you need them.

3) Take Time to Sleep On it

When impulse buying, many of us don’t take time to weigh up the pros and cons. Taking time to sleep on the decision to buy something can help you to determine whether you really want and need it.

This is particularly important with expensive purchases like cars, vacations, furniture and gadgets, as well as mid-price items like clothes and video games. Shop salespeople will often try to convince enthusiastic shoppers to buy immediately – this is because when people have time to sleep on decisions, they often change their mind.  

4) Always Check Online Reviews

Taking the time to read online reviews can help you to assess whether something is a good purchase. You may be blinded by the perks of a certain product – a review can help point out the possible faults and drawbacks. You can check online reviews on your phone from any location.

Make this a habit every time you see something that you want to buy.

5) Stop Viewing Deals as Chances to Save Money

Promotions such as ‘buy one get one free’ and ‘half price’ can convince us to buy products with the belief that we’re saving money. However, these items are often things we never intended to buy in the first place. Even if the item is discounted, you’re still spending money that you never planned to spend.

Unless that product was already on your shopping list and you physically need it, don’t fall victim to buying it. You can sometimes save money by investing in limited deals on essentials (items that you are certain to use in the future such as washing powder or toilet paper) but you shouldn’t give into deals on non-essentials that you weren’t planning on buying (e.g. snacks, clothing, video games).

6) Unsubscribe From Retail Mailing Lists

Many people follow mailing lists of retailers as a way of keeping an eye on promotions. However, these mailing lists can often convince us to buy things online that we don’t need. While you can avoid certain shops to avoid spending money on them, a mailing list makes these retailers inescapable.

Many of us receive emails on our phones, which leads up to being alerted of deals 24/7. Unsubscribe from these mailing lists so that you’re not constantly being tempted into thinking about buying.  

losing to depreciation7) Only Bring Cash While Shopping

Paying by card has made impulse buying easier. When you’ve only got cash to rely on, you give yourself a physical limit as to how much you can spend. Next time you go shopping, visit an ATM first, take out only the cash you need and then leave you card at home/in the car while you shop.

This forces you to only use the cash you’ve got.

On top of shopping, this can be a sensible strategy when on a night out. If you don’t want to overspend on rounds of drinks, bring cash and leave your card at home. Many of us are more susceptible to impulse buying when we’ve had a few drinks, so it makes sense to stick to cash any time you think you may be drinking.

8) Freeze Your Credit Card

If you find cash inconvenient or like to still have your card as a backup option for emergencies, consider freezing your credit card while you shop instead. Many card providers now allow you to do this online from your phone. Designed primarily as a way of stopping others from spending money on your card if you lose you it or get it stolen, freezing your card can also discourage you from flashing the plastic when out shopping or on a night out.

9) Shop With Someone Who Will Stop You

Another option is to bring a trusted shopping buddy who will hold you back. Tell them that you’re trying to quit impulse buying – they can then try and talk you out of any attempts at spontaneous purchases.

You may find that they don’t even need to speak up and that their mere presence stops you from buying things impulsively. Just make sure to not shop with someone who could be a negative influence.

10) No Spending Challenges

Trying to go a day without spending can be a fun challenge. You could even try going an entire weekend without spending anything.

This could persuade you to finally eat that food stocked up in your freezer rather than ordering takeout or it could persuade you to find free ways of entertaining yourself rather than going shopping or drinking. All in all, it could make you realize just how many purchases you make and how many of them aren’t needed.

11) Treat Yourself to the Occasional (Planned) Splurge

Being too restrictive of your finances could get frustrating. Allow yourself the occasional splurge as a treat for good spending. If you’ve gone a couple of weeks without a single impulse purchase, treat yourself to some impulsive shopping or let yourself go on a night and see where it takes you. Sometimes we all need that sense of adventure to keep life exciting – just make sure that you’re treating yourself for good behavior and not just splurging randomly. 

Related: How to Afford Your Dream Honeymoon on a Budget

Want to stop impulse buying? Try the tips above. Have your own tried and true methods? Tell us about them below!!

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AUTHOR LaTia Longuemire

My name is LaTia Longuemire. I enjoy writing, singing, and cooking in my spare time. My passion is helping others. At this stage in my lifetime, I'm primarily focused on my children. They are everything that keeps my world spinning.

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