Impulse buying is something that most people have done at least once in their life. I think certain lifestyles trigger impulse buying more than others, which means it takes a variety of methods to deter this type of buying. Some of the following 10 tips to stop impulse buying won’t work for everyone, but they should help most.
10. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
I’ve found that I end up with an entire shopping cart of things I don’t need when I go shopping on an empty stomach, whether I’m buying groceries or just running in to grab a few toiletries. That darn candy aisle gets me every time. I just can’t seem to resist a Snickers bar when my stomach begins to rumble. I had to start leaving a box of granola bars in the car to help curb my hunger. So far, they seem to be working on helping me spend less money on food items I really don’t need.
9. Save Some Purchases until ‘next Time’
Try tricking yourself into buying something next time. You might be surprised at how well this tactic works. When you are staring at an item that you know you don’t need, but you truly want. Tell yourself that it will go on next week’s shopping list and see if you still want it then. A lot of times I can reason with myself. After a few days I’ve subconsciously convinced myself that it would have been a silly purchase anyway. I’ve even had moments where I get to the check out counter and can’t recall what the item I almost bought was.
8. Make a Budget to Follow
I have a difficult time sticking to a specific budget, due to those instances where something unexpected goes wrong and funds need to be quickly shifted to remedy the situation. However, making a budget plan and being able to follow it religiously can work for some people. You’ll have to check where you are at on your budget plan before going shopping though, so you know just how much is available to spend. An impulse buying spree could easily disrupt your entire budget plan.
7. Take a Friend along Who Doesn’t like to Shop
I have friends who enjoy shopping and those who loathe it. If I am going to the mall to buy a specific item, then I’ll take along my friend who’s an avid shopper. But, if I am about to head out for the day to run errands and I don’t have anything in particular I’m searching for, then I’d be better off taking my anti-shopping friend. This individual will keep me focused on the task at hand and talk me out of buying something I don’t need. She’s excellent at saying to me, “What on Earth are you going to do with that?!” just at the right moment.
6. Remove Your Name from Mailing Lists for Catalogs You Don’t Need
Catalogs can be so tempting. I used to get some of the coolest catalogs from specialty shops which sold some amazingly original wares. There is usually a toll-free number located on the order page or on the back of the catalog. It only takes a few minutes to call the number and ask to be removed from the mailing list. I still keep some of my favorite catalogs to look at from time to time and those will eventually end up as fire place fodder during the winter.
5. Don’t Shop when You’re Angry or Depressed
Shopping makes most people happy, until they get home and realize how much they’ve spent and what they got for their money. Find something else to do when you are having a rough day. If you truly cannot resist shopping to make yourself perk up a bit, then go to the grocery store and roam the aisles. At least if you purchase food items you know you can use them.
4. Decide Whether an Item is a Need or Want
An item you want isn’t always one you need. Ask yourself which category a purchase will fall into before making the final decision to buy it.
3. Use a Small Basket Instead of a Large Shopping Cart
If I only have a few things to buy, I won’t grab a hand held basket or a cart at all. I find I buy a lot less when I have to carry everything in my arms. When I can’t reach out and pick up an item that isn’t on my list anyway, I usually pass it by and remind myself it wasn’t what I came into the store to buy in the first place.
2. Leave Credit Cards at Home
Credit cards are too easy to use, which is why I currently don’t have one. Granted, it does make it difficult during an emergency, but not having one has also saved me from making many unnecessary purchases. If you do have a credit card, make the limit as low as possible. Having a low credit limit might help you to use the card only for emergencies or for purchases you know you can pay off when the bill comes in the mail. A large bout of impulse buying is often initiated by the thought, “I’ll just put it on the credit card.”
1. Take along a Shopping List and Stick to It
Over the years, I’ve taught myself to stick to a shopping list. I look at the list before I go into the store and glance at it as often as I can while I shop. Keeping me focused on the list and not on the items around me helps me to remember why I came into the store in the first place.
Maybe these 10 tips to stop impulse buying will help you save money the next time you go shopping. Feel free to pass these tips on to any impulse buyers you know who can also benefit from them. What methods do you use to keep from buying things on a whim?
Top Photo Credit: Alex Segre