Impulse buying is one of the main reasons people can’t meet their savings and debt reduction goals. It’s a challenging habit to break, but if you can do it, you’ll get rid of financial stress and have money to empower your life goals.
What is Impulse Buying?
When you go to the store to pick up a few necessities, the sum of which can fit into a single sack, and you arrive home with ten bags of stuff you had no intention of getting, this is impulse buying. It can be on a smaller scale, too, like when you’re waiting to check out, and you start browsing the items that line the cashier aisle. This is where retailers trap you. Suddenly you decide you need some candy bars, gum, and candles, and so forth. If it’s not on your list and included in your budget, it’s buying on impulse.
Here are 8 ways to stop impulse buying.
1. Avoid social media.
In today’s COVID-19 reality, avoiding social media is probably impossible. Limit your online face time. Be careful of the targeted ads on social media channels. The interface between an online retailer and you is designed to make it as easy as possible to purchase. It’s a danger zone for impulse buying.
2. Don’t shop with friends (unless you can trust them to be allies).
Shopping with friends can lead to making unplanned purchases. It’s best to go alone unless your friends also want to stop impulse buying.
3. Leave the kids at home.
Kids are great consumers, especially in the grocery store. If your children are young and you can’t resist their cries for the latest toy or gadget, it’s best to leave them home. Older children can be taught how to be smart consumers.
4. Always make a list.
If you go by memory, you’re likely to forget what you need and buy something you didn’t need. You may have to return to the store, which will cost you money and time. A list helps you stay focused on the essential items you need to purchase and is a successful way to stop impulse buying. Before making a list, do an inventory to be sure of what is needed. And if it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.
5. Shop with cash or a debit card.
Paying with cash forces you to take an extra second to confirm that you truly need the items you’re about to buy. Cash is best, but a debit card may be more convenient. Both are better than buying with credit cards because you’ll see the results of your shopping right away. It’s easy to lose track of the charges you put on your credit card until the bill arrives.
6. Give yourself a 24-hour waiting period.
Sometimes when you’re out, you’ll see what seems to be a great sale. If the sign says it’s a 24-hour sale, skip it. This is just a gimmick to nudge you into buying something you don’t need. Go home. Ask yourself if you need the items that are on sale. What adjustment will you need to make to your budget to stay on target if you buy them? Taking a time out is a great way to stop impulse buying. You may discover that you don’t need the item, or you might even find a better price elsewhere.
7. Don’t go shopping when you’re depressed.
Many consumers engage in impulse buying to overcome depression. Shopping can be a mood enhancer. But you can easily wreck your budget, and a day of fun can turn into sleepless nights when you can’t pay your bills.
8. Print out your life goals and put them where you can see them every day
Stay focused on your savings and debt reduction goals. Keeping them in your consciousness will help you stop impulse buying.