7 Tips for Curbing Impulse Buying
We wish shopping didn't feel so good.
Whether you're actually out in the world or just piling items into an online shopping cart, there's a simple satisfaction in buying things—until there isn't. If you've ever looked at the results of your latest shopping binge and are hit with sudden buyer's remorse, you're not alone.
But how can we impulsive shoppers prevent ourselves from buying a bunch of stuff we don't want in the long run, while spending all of our hard-earned cash? We've put together the seven most helpful tips for curbing that tricky habit.
1. Be Wary of Sales
For impulsive shoppers, few things are more enticing than a sale. Everything's available at a discount, which means it's your time to go all out, right? Not necessarily. When you plan to buy something because it's on sale, contemplate whether you actually wanted the item enough to consider it at full price, or if you're simply being lured in by that discount. Sales can trick us into buying things we didn't really want in the first place because they're a deal. Think about whether you'd still be excited about it if it weren't on sale before leaping in.
2. Don't Shop While Emotional
If you've just had a bad day, retail therapy likely won't help as much as you'd think. Buying something to fill the void because you're sad or angry, rather than because you actually want something, probably isn't going to bring much long-term happiness—and if you're shopping online, by the time you actually receive that item, you'll likely feel better, anyhow. We recommend you turn to something like journaling or exercise instead to be more productive with that energy, or at least leave it in your cart for a few days to see if you still feel the same about it before you click "buy."
3. Let Items Linger in Your Online Carts
Speaking of shopping carts, online shopping has made impulse buying easier than ever, which can be both a blessing and a curse. There are so many products at your fingertips that are available in just a few clicks, opening you up to spend a lot on stuff you don't need if you're feeling impulsive and not being careful. For that reason, we recommend that you leave items stewing in your cart for at least 24 hours before you commit to them. This will give you time to think. Do you really need this stuff? Do you like it as much as you did when you added it to your cart? And is it worth all of that money? It's good to second guess, and you might find yourself removing items from the cart, or even ditching the idea completely. You might even forget to come back and make the purchase altogether—a clear sign you weren't fully dedicated to it in the first place.
4. Don't Save Your Debit Card Info on Your Phone/Computer
If you've been making too many online purchases lately, creating extra barriers for yourself can be strangely helpful. That's why we recommend that you don't save your debit or credit card information on the devices where you do your shopping. If you actually have to go to your wallet and type in your card number and all of your info every time you buy, you'll have to really desire something to put in the effort, saving you from potential unnecessary shopping.
5. Ask Lots of Questions First
Before you make any purchase, it can be helpful to ask yourself a bunch of questions about why you're buying in the first place. Do you actually need this item, and where will it fit into your life? Where's it going to live in your home, and will you use it often enough to warrant the price you're paying? Do you have to get rid of something else in order to make room for it, or is it likely to just sit on a shelf collecting dust for the next several years? If it's something trendy, you may also want to ask yourself if it's something you would have enjoyed two or three years ago. If not, it may be because it's on-trend at the moment, making it likely it will soon go out of style again. The more you actually think about the purchase, the more you'll bring it out of the realm of impulse shopping and into the realm of a well-considered buy.
6. Use Cash for IRL Purchases
Sometimes, using a credit or debit card to make purchases can feel like you're not spending money at all, with the actual finances feeling abstract in the moment. You spend and spend, and it's only when you look at your bank statements that you realize many expensive purchases you've been making. With cash, that's rarely the case. You see your dollars disappear, and you actively have to go to a bank or ATM to withdraw more. People are generally more careful when they have a limited number of bills to deal with, which often helps with impulsive shopping.
7. Have a Budget
If you know yourself and you're pretty much guaranteed to do a little impulsive spending over the course of a month, limit your funds to do so. Maybe you can set aside $25 per month to spend on frivolous and unnecessary things because they make you happy, but once that $25 is spent, you're done. Setting rules for yourself will make you reconsider purchases and save up for that thing you really want—and you may even find that for some months, nothing checks those boxes for you at all and you wind up saving money.
If you've been spending time trying to shop smarter at thrift stores, click HERE for Insta captions for all of your thrift shopping photos.