Do you often buy various things you never planned and needed? Indeed, it can be tough to resist an exceptional deal on football tickets, a stylish new pair of shoes, or dinner out. Overspending on impulse shopping happens even when your budget is tight, and that’s the worst part of the story.
Perhaps you have trouble sticking to a specific shopping list and have tried to eradicate the habit. But somehow, you end up busting your budget again when you’re not paying attention. Here are some valuable ideas that can teach you how to resist impulse buying and save you money.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is An Impulse Buy?
- 2 What Causes Impulse Buying?
- 3 How To Stop Impulse Buying?
- 3.1 Find Out Why You Are Impulse Buying
- 3.2 Avoid The Temptation
- 3.3 Review Your Finance And Credit Card Statements
- 3.4 Create A Monthly Budget
- 3.5 Set Aside Money In Your Budget For “Fun” Spending
- 3.6 Consider The Cash Envelope Method For Discretionary Expenses
- 3.7 Wait Before Making The Final Purchase
- 3.8 Avoid Shopping When Emotional
- 3.9 Make An Impulse-Purchase Regret List
- 3.10 Bring A Friend When You Shop
- 3.11 Unsubscribe From Store Emails
- 3.12 Leave The Credit Cards At Home
- 3.13 Social Media Are Your Enemy
- 3.14 Stick To A Shopping List
- 3.15 Skip Online Shopping Websites
- 3.16 Do A No-Spend Challenge
- 3.17 Give Yourself A Break
- 4 Bottom Line
- 5 FAQ
What Is An Impulse Buy?
An impulse buy is what happens when you purchase something unplanned without even thinking. Such purchases can even include a candy bar you grabbed in the checkout line that wasn’t on your grocery list. Or, it can be something big such as walking into a bike store “just to browse” and walking out with the latest-model mountain bike. If it’s not projected in your budget, then it’s an impulse.
Almost everyone has fallen for the temporary excitement of impulse buying. Honestly, we’ve all been there before, and it’s probably okay to make the occasional impulse purchase. As long as it doesn’t harm your financial health severely, there’s no need to take drastic measures. But, if it does, it’s high time you did some intensive planning.
Why Is Impulse Buying Bad?
The root of the issue is that doing things not good for us is so easy and exciting. However, it’s not that impulse buying came naturally to us. The reason we do it is that we’ve learned it along the way, and now it’s part of our routine.
Impulse buys can lead to cash shortage, racking up credit card debt, and extra charges. Eventually, you’d go after an expensive short-term cash loan to get even more unwanted personal and household stuff. Another unhealthy practice of impulse shoppers is returning unneeded items to the store.
Picking up bad habits, such as impulse spending, is usually difficult to break. Even worse, throwing money down the drain prevents you from creating sensible financial habits. Impulse buyers rarely consider the long-standing consequences of their spending. They feel better to get what they want now and worry about the outcome later.
What Causes Impulse Buying?
Do you ever wonder what leads to and how to resist impulse buying? Below are the main reasons why people tend to impulse buy.
Emotions play a massive part in what we purchase. It makes perfect sense that our spending habits get shaped depending on what’s going on in our lives. On a tough day, does a little retail therapy improve your mood right away? This therapy may include buying something insignificant such as a new pair of earrings or car accessories. It may seem like not a big deal because you want to get something to make you feel better.
Purchases based on emotion allow impulse buying to take control. Even worse, retailers know this. Hence, they expose you to their ads, hoping to hit a nerve that causes you to buy.
Maybe you never learned how to handle money well. Perhaps the way money got spent in your household distorted your beliefs about personal finances. Digging into your past can help you get to the root of your problems and overcome them.
Who can resist season sales? Who wants to pay the total price for something? Yet, you must know that all this is a huge marketing tactic. When you believe you’re getting a deal, you’re more likely to pull the trigger on the purchase of other items.
Some people experience a temporary high when they get new stuff and feel excited to use it. People are fascinated with novelty because it releases dopamine in the brain, making us feel good.
The mere anticipation of buying something can make someone feel better. As you walk into the mall feeling excited about buying something, you don’t want that excitement to go away. So, you end up purchasing the thing projected in your head whether you need it or not.
Do you spend more money than usual when you’re hanging out with your friends? Some friends can have a detrimental influence on you if they have bad spending habits. So, decline their invites next time you can’t afford to eat, shop, and travel the way your friends do.
Suggest meeting for coffee instead of dinner, exploring hiking trails instead of hitting the stadium. You don’t need to splurge on costly vacations or fancy dinners to have a social life. It’s vital to surround yourself with friends who support you as you work toward your financial goals.
Those accustomed to a particular lifestyle can find it challenging to give it up when they encounter a financial dead-end. Once your lifestyle becomes more extensive than your budget, and you cannot stop overspending, you may end up in worse shape.
If you grew up in a poor household, you might want to overspend to compensate for the things you got deprived of before. Similarly, growing in an affluent family can compel you to shell out money you don’t have to maintain the lifestyle.
Limited-time deals, fast sales, and emotions are among the things that fuel your instant buys. Learn how to ignore them and save tons of cash along the way.
How To Stop Impulse Buying?
Many people find it daunting to learn how to stop impulse spending. However, there are some strategies you can put to use until you get comfortable with spending moderately. Whether you’re desperate to curb your overspending habit or are trying to save, we are here to support you. Here is a list of 17 tips to help you resist the temptation to waste money.
Find Out Why You Are Impulse Buying
Those who are trying to avoid overspending on impulse buys should learn the background of their behavior. Meaning, you need to decide why you are making the purchases in the first place. Though this issue may seem easy to address, the answer can be misleading and incorrect.
Many believe that every purchase serves to fill a need, be it emotional or mental. Who hasn’t experienced a bad day and then brightened it up with the instant joy of buying something new and shiny? The point is to consider whether that act resolved the problem. Usually, the answer is no; you only felt better for a short time.
Hence, try to find a different way to release your negative emotions. Tackle your thoughts or depression by doing things that are free and have a long-lasting effect. If you overspend when under stress, do something that relaxes you instead of hitting the nearest shopping mall. Go jogging or talk to your friends for a change.
Focusing your money on items you care about will help you learn how to avoid impulse buying. Thus, it’s essential to list your values and narrow them down to the top three. These three values will be your guide about each financial transaction. Whatever motivates you to save, make it visual and place it as a reminder where you can see it regularly. Since you know what matters the most, you can move forward.
Avoid The Temptation
Resist going to the mall or browsing shopping apps. This hack is one of the easiest to implement if you want to make a radical change. Not being exposed to the temptation to impulse buy will slowly rein your need to waste cash. In short, if you don’t visit the local store and discover that fabulous long dress, you won’t get tempted to get it.
The upside of resisting temptations is that you don’t need the willpower to fight the urge to overspend. Plus, you won’t come up with reasons to justify your purchases. Instead of fighting spending urges, avoid entering the store at all cost.
Another barrier to dodge the temptation to overspend may be invitations to do something fun with friends. We should all enjoy life, but it is crucial to know your best financial interest and decline when needed. It is super easy to swipe your credit card for eating out or going to the movies. Knowing that you will be paying off that evening with interest should deter you from instant buys.
If you know that you can’t afford a night out, don’t cave in. Instead, invite your friends over for a game night and enjoy time together, but without breaking your budget.
Review Your Finance And Credit Card Statements
You can’t control spending until you know where your money is going. Start tracking your expenses for a month or two. Get all debit and credit card statements, plus receipts for cash transactions. Then, divide the costs into categories and define areas in which you tend to overspend.
Be ready to act if your spending exceeds your income for that month. If your statements say that you often dine out or splash out at the bar, focus on eradicating that habit. Also, define categories you can cut back on in the short run.
Create A Monthly Budget
The most logical method to stop impulse buying is to set up a monthly budget and stick to it. This monthly budget will not deprive you of anything. It’s only a plan that shows you how and when to spend and save your money. Many budgeting apps can help you along the way without much effort on your side.
Those who neglected to have a budget can find many free online templates for beginners. Make sure your financial plan contains all the essential categories, plus a guilt-free spending element. A detailed budget can give you a clear perspective of your current financial situation and guide your future spending. Also, the plan will tell you if there’s room for extra expenditure each month.
If you already have a budget, compare it to your monthly expenses to check if you’re spending more than expected. Hence, if you exceed the limit this month, you can compensate that amount the next month and break even.
You need a good strategy to get rid of your impulse buying bad habit. Our ideas can help you get back on the right track.
Set Aside Money In Your Budget For “Fun” Spending
Setting fun money aside will keep you sane without feeling that you deprive yourself of real-life when reaching your financial goals. Plus, this component means you’re creating a realistic budget since you factor in entertainment money.
It’s essential to throw a little fun money down the drain. Allow yourself some budget items aimed to enjoy life and encourage yourself that long-term financial projections are worthwhile. Depending on your income, this might range from as little as $10 up to $100 a month. What matters is that the amount is reasonable and affordable.
The next time something catches your eye, you just have to check your fun money fund. If you still have funds available, you can shop guilt-free. You’ve budgeted a small portion of your income for it, so it’s not an impulse buy any longer.
Consider The Cash Envelope Method For Discretionary Expenses
Swiping credit cards may not feel like spending tangible assets at the moment. Yet, you always have to pay off the balance later, usually with interest. To learn how to avoid impulse buying, consider your credit card usage.
If your last credit card statements reveal that you primarily use plastic for impulse purchases, hold your horses. It’s time to cut back on your credit card usage and restrict your shopping. The plausible solution is to switch to cash instead of credit.
The cash envelope budgeting is an excellent method to save money on unnecessary items. In short, withdraw the income in cash every month and divide it into labeled envelopes for each budget category. This way, you will limit yourself on impulse buys and stay within budget.
Wait Before Making The Final Purchase
Be patient and give yourself some thinking time to calm down when you feel the urge to impulse buy. Once you think it over, ask yourself if you need and can afford the thing. This approach will help you look at the purchase from a fresh perspective.
By introducing a 24-hour hold policy on purchases, the must-have feeling in the moment will quickly fade away. It’s vital to hold off on pulling the purchase trigger until you allow yourself some time and space to assess the buy.
Last, watch out for deals of limited duration. Don’t let a 2-hour countdown rush you into buying. Remember the offer, evaluate it, and be ready for it next time if you can’t afford it. All sales eventually come back around, don’t they?
Avoid Shopping When Emotional
Though we touched on this, it’s worth mentioning again. Never let your emotions control and guide your spending habits! You may be having a wonderful day and make an impulse buy to keep your spirits high. Or maybe your day is terrible, and you believe you deserve something nice to make you feel better.
We’ve all done that. Instant buys can happen at the spur of the moment. So, is there a way to fix this? Whether you’re ecstatic or trying to cheer yourself up, forget about buying when your emotions are running wild.
Make An Impulse-Purchase Regret List
We have all rushed and made that frivolous purchase that we later regretted. Who isn’t prone to irrational impulse spending while browsing the web? To understand your behavior in the roots, it’s advisable to make a list of the impulse purchases you’ve made recently and regretted.
What’s the logic behind this list, and how can it help you? Well, you’ll learn that those specific purchases, which seemed like a good idea at the time, weren’t a wise decision at all. Plus, you can note what triggered the impulse buy. Was it due to a stressful week at work? Did you earn some extra income?
Often, impulse purchases come as a result of distorted reality. Even worse, we aren’t even aware of this influence, so get in tune with the triggers of your impulse buys.
Bring A Friend When You Shop
Accountability can do wonders for your overspending habit. If you have a close friend or relative who’s willing to help you curb your urges, you’re halfway there. Take them on your next shopping trip.
Before you set off, share your purchase plans and the projected budget. Convince them to talk some sense into you if you don’t stick to the agreed shopping strategy.
Unsubscribe From Store Emails
Being inbox flooded with sale emails these days is a common sight. When you check your inbox, you probably find various emails announcing one sale after another.
Even if you weren’t thinking about shopping when you checked your mail, marketers could catch your attention quickly. To spare yourself the temptation to see what’s on sale, hit the unsubscribe button right away. Forget about store newsletters and replace them with positive, inspiring alternatives.
Leave The Credit Cards At Home
Go one step further and leave all your credit and debit cards at home before you hit the stores. Define the amount of money you’ll need for the necessary items and only take that amount in cash. If you stick to the shopping list and don’t have extra money to waste, you can’t make an impulse buy. Indeed, quite a simple and efficient saving strategy for the family.
Living a life without credit cards can set you free. This kind of debt is detrimental to both your financial and psychological health. Using credit cards is also dangerous since you may develop an “I’ll take care about it later” mindset. Yet, when “later” comes, you will probably regret spending the money because you won’t be able to settle the debt.
In case you’re an online shopper, it might get even more challenging to stop impulse buying. So, if you have your credit card information saved onto various shopping profiles, crossing the red line is way easier. All it takes is one click, and you’ll be a hundred dollars poorer for several pairs of shoes. We suggest you delete your credit card numbers. This way, you will allow yourself some time to think before reaching for your wallet and inserting the card numbers.
Leave credit cards at home and don’t fall for every sale you see. That’s the first step to stop making impulse purchases.
Social Media Are Your Enemy
As harsh as this may sound, it’s true. You scroll, and you instantly start making comparisons. Those who cannot avoid spending when checking everyone’s highlight reel should remove the problem’s source. At least try deleting Instagram and Facebook for a while and see if you notice a difference in your finances.
Even if you manage to resist the comparison trap, social media are vast billboards for impulse spending. Whatever you check online, companies are trying to sell you something. Indeed, there are so many offers and discounts on social media that resisting them is virtually impossible. Hence, avoiding social networks for some time will spare you the sight of flashy sales and new products.
Stick To A Shopping List
If the product is not on your predefined list, do not buy it. It cannot be simpler than that. Draw up a detailed shopping list before you hit the stores and create your budget accordingly. You can even plan your route throughout the stores and avoid walking past tempting items.
Calculate the approximate amount you’ll need to procure all the essential products. With a plan in place and a strict budget, the chances to give into overspending are almost non-existent. Whether you need some grocery items or Christmas gifts to procure, have the entire shopping plan written down.
Skip Online Shopping Websites
Online shopping is the most dangerous way to splash out on trivial things. There’s no need to plan for a trip to the stores; items here show one after another very quickly. With only one click, you’ll spend all your hard-earned dollars, and there’s no going back.
Even worse, online retailers bombard you with marketing about products you have purchased in the past. This way, retailers hope to convince you into buying a similar product. If you have issues with overspending, it’s best to abort online shopping altogether. When you need something, go to the store, and buy it after you carefully consider whether you need it.
Do A No-Spend Challenge
Desperate attempts to save may call for desperate measures. The no-spend challenge is one such approach that can help extreme shoppers. The basic rule of this strategy is to pick a day of the week when you won’t spend any money on nonessentials.
You may pay for things such as rent or mortgage, regular bills, groceries, etc. Yet, you can’t spend money on eating out, getting your hair done, clothes, or home accessories. It’s best to avoid setting foot in stores unless buying groceries. Here, you can find extra tips on how to save money at restaurants.
However, take our advice with a pinch of salt. In short, many tend to overspend the next day because they feel the need to compensate for not spending the previous day.
Give Yourself A Break
Speaking of big picture goals, you must learn to make sound financial decisions in your daily life. These choices should get aligned with the big picture lifestyle you want to live. So if you’re willing to learn how to stop impulse spending, that doesn’t happen overnight. Indeed, it’s super easy to lose touch with your long-term plans when they exist only in your imagination.
Self-blame is never the answer when you fork out on an impulse purchase. Instead, try to rectify the transaction by turning the item back. Or promise yourself that next time you’ll be more reasonable and keep within budget.
Finally, keep your long-term goals in mind before wasting money. Maybe you want to contribute to your savings account or travel abroad but can’t afford it. Consider these objectives, and remember that impulse purchases add up to a lot of money and prevent you from meeting your goals.
Though the excitement of impulse spending can be thrilling, ecstatic feelings never last long. Practicing the advice above can pave your path to resisting the urge to splash out whenever you spot a great sale. Once you’re there, you’ll manage to stick to your monthly budget and feel better about your spending habits without regretting later.
Are you a shopaholic, too? Do you use any tricks that help you not overspend on unnecessary goods? Share them in the comments below and register for our newsletter to find more hacks to save on everyday purchases.
How do you stop impulse purchases?
Before you break the habit, you need a sound plan. Understand why you’re impulse spending and tackle that issue first. Then, create a monthly budget and include some discretionary expenses. Also, avoid using credit cards and pay with cash. Last, set rules for online shopping and give yourself a break.
What causes impulse buying?
A store atmosphere full of pleasant smells and relaxing music is a possible trigger for overspending. Next, price discounts and limited-time offers are other potent triggers of impulse buys. The time and money of consumers affect impulse buying, so encouraging it usually increases such resources.
How do you convince yourself not to buy something?
After you go through your finances and credit cards, it’s time to set long-term financial goals. Create a budget and try the envelope system for any purchase throughout the month. Use cash only and keep away from temptations by avoiding window shopping. The fear of debt is decisive here.
How do I stop wanting material things?
Remember that you aren’t the things you possess and that relationships are about doing, not having. Create a system of goals and challenges other than tangible things, which only fill voids. Building intangible assets like discipline, emotional control, understanding, and learning will replace your need for physical ones.
Why is impulse buying bad?
Impulse purchases waste your money and give you a false instant feeling of joy and fulfillment. Though they may cheer you up at first, there’s no long-term value. Thoughtless buys are entirely unnecessary, too. Finally, you run the risk of running into debt and getting loans to rectify matters.