You’ve probably been in a situation where you went out to buy a dress but ended up buying matching shoes and accessories.
You might have signed in on Amazon to purchase a book, but ended up buying something else from the suggestions tab.
You can relax now, as this is normal human behavior. As long as the impulse purchase is small and does not disrupt your financial peace, it is safe.
It is not a good idea to ‘impulse buy’ expensive things only to regret them later. This will make it difficult to save money and keep you from reaching your financial goals.
It is important to control your impulse buying and monitor your spending.
1. Take a List with you when you go shopping
You can make a list of the items that you need to buy and then tell yourself that these are all the things you will be purchasing.
A good plan will help you to control your mind and make you question whether you actually need the items you haven’t planned to buy.
2. Make a list of all impulse purchases
Write down every impulse purchase you make and stick it somewhere visible. When the time for updating your budget comes, monitor all impulse purchases you made and reflect on what could have been avoided.
While you cannot reverse past decisions, it is possible to keep an eye on your future purchases.
3. Allow for some impulse spending each month
I have always believed that it is important to not be too hard on yourself. You can look at a box of chocolates and decide to buy them.
You should always allow for $50 to $100 in impulse spending each month. If your budget allows, you can even spend more.
However, it is important to keep this small amount in mind so you don’t exceed it.
4. Before you make the purchase, take some time to think it through.
You can give yourself time to consider what is necessary and what isn’t by adhering to the “Waiting Period Rule” before you make an impulse purchase.
When you are standing in line for bill clearance, a box of your favorite candy catches your eye, there is not much time to make a wise decision.
You need to take your time and think about what you would do with these items that you intend to purchase. It is possible that you could simply let go of the item and decide that it isn’t necessary.
5. When you are emotionally triggered, don’t shop.
Psychologists believe that impulse spending is more common when you feel down or emotionally stimulated.
You will regret later what you bought impulsively because of your emotions. It’s best to not shop when you are feeling low or emotional. Let the emotions calm down before you go out and shop.
6. Go to the shop/mall with someone, not just yourself
I am not a huge shoe or apparel shopaholic. However, I am always tempted to buy packaged foods, chocolates, and chips. Worse, I tend to buy more than I need.
Based on my own experience, I recommend that you always bring someone with you to the store.
You can take anyone with you who is able to keep an eye on you and say ‘No’ when necessary.
7. Only take the exact amount of cash that you will use.
You won’t have to buy random products if you feel the urge. Limit your spending to the minimum amount you will need for the purchases.
You won’t be able to afford the items that aren’t on your shopping list thus, saving you money.
8. Before you make an impulse purchase, think about your financial goals.
Sometimes, simply giving thought to your financial goals and needs can help you make better decisions. Before you make a purchase decision, ask yourself these questions:
“Do I really have to have this thing?”
“Is it possible that it will affect my monthly budget?”
“Can’t this item be replaced with something more important?”
You will always make the right decision if you know the answers to all of these questions.
9. Unsubscribe from the email list that keeps prompting you to buy stuff.
With promotional emails, you may even be tempted to buy unnecessary products.
If you’re on a savings spree and can’t resist the emails, unsubscribe to the email lists that lead you to buy products you don’t need.
10. If it isn’t possible to control the urge, minimize the damage.
You can minimize the financial damage done if impulse buying is not something you can control. It will be cheaper to buy a smaller box of chocolates than a larger one.
You can get a discount if you buy it at the same place.
If you have the funds, impulse spending is usually fun. As a tip, try to keep a small amount of cash with you. It’s also important to make smarter buying decisions. This will have a long-term impact on your financial health.