Beat Impulse Buying with These 7 Useful Tricks

Beat Impulse Buying with These 7 Useful Tricks

When you purchase something on the spur of the moment, that’s impulse buying. The moment you decide to buy a jumpsuit after passing a store that shows great discounts, know that you are making an impulse purchase. It is not easy to avoid impulse buying. Impulse buying doesn’t have to be about expensive shiny items. It can be as small as grabbing a chocolate bar that wasn’t on your grocery list. You’re making impulse purchases whenever you suddenly decide to buy things without a plan to do so.

Impulse urge is almost subconscious and can be very dangerous. Have you ever walked into a store for a pair of shoes but came out with two pairs of it and two blouses to match with the shoes? That’s why impulse purchase can be said as a secret enemy that can ruin your retirement plan and 3-months worth of emergency funds.

How many of you have fallen into the trap of impulse buying? Often, we find ourselves wondering why we buy things that ended up sitting in our closet with the tags on. To avoid that, take a look at these 7 simple tricks to beat the urge of impulse buying below.

Minimize your mall visit

You may walk into a store without the intention of buying until that one denim jacket is having a sale up to 50% off. What would you do then? If it suits your taste, you’ll be more likely to buy it even you already have a few of it hanging in the wardrobe. That’s how dangerous window shopping can be.

If you think that discounted items are your weakness, perhaps you can consider minimising going to a mall unless necessary. Whenever you have something in mind to buy, just go straight to the store and pick the specific item that you need. Avoid impulse buying by leaving the store as soon as possible after making the purchase. Walking around the mall to window shop will only lead you to buy impulsively. The longer you’re in a shopping environment, the more tempted you are to spend on something unnecessary. If you’re feeling bored, consider killing your time somewhere that you can enjoy aside from a shopping mall.

Leave your credit card at home

Just like other cards, a credit card is just a financial tool. It won’t be harmful until you use it recklessly. Swiping with a credit card and walk away without handing out any cash can be addictive since you can’t feel the actual pinch yet. But remember, you have to pay it off later and it comes with interest if you fail to pay it in full.

You can avoid impulse buying by shopping with cash in hand. Bring only the amount of money that you need. That way, you can’t overspend if you have no more money in your wallet. Besides, using cold hard cash triggers the feeling of scarcity whenever it leaves your wallet.

In a way, this helps you to control your spending more. If you think that cash is not your thing and find using a card is more convenient, you can opt for a debit card instead. That’s a better way to manage your spending habits since you’ll be using the money that is stored in your savings account. It is better to be responsible with your credit card or use other financial tools before you find yourself seeking financial help due to overwhelming credit card debt.

Stay away from online shopping sites

The existence of the internet has made shopping easier and more convenient. Unfortunately, it has also made impulse purchases easier. Buying online is as simple as tapping on your smartphone or computer. One moment, you may be just scrolling for cat food, but soon you’ll be looking at cat toys or other related paraphernalia as recommended. Before you know it, you’re already in a few different shopping sites with several things in your cart ready to check out.

When shopping on the internet, try to avoid searching for things by category. Instead, search for the specific items that you’re looking for. Lots of options will appear if you search for it generally which may get you sidetracked and end up buying something apart from what you initially needed.

Do not go for retail therapy

Do you find comfort in shopping? Does going home with bags of new things delight you? If yes, know that you may be buying things for the wrong reasons. Shopping therapy is a method of stress-relief for some people. It is also a shopping activity controlled by emotions rather than buying to survive.

Some people try to cheer themselves up and forget all the problems by shopping. Some others find the need for shopping as a self-reward. Whatever you’re feeling at the moment, do not let your emotions control your spending habits. Try to not buy anything when your emotions are on a roller-coaster ride. You may be compelled to keep spending until you feel emotionally better.

Whenever you’re thinking of going for retail therapy, take a step back and think whether this purchase will give you lasting pleasure or will only cause you much regret later on. Try going for a walk or spend time with your friends and family to release that emotional burden. There are many ways you can do to keep yourself happy without spending a penny.

Set a budget

I know this may sound boring but you will never go wrong with budgeting. When it comes to shopping, establishing a budget is a must. Before setting out to a store, allocate an amount of money for things that you absolutely need.

If you know that you only have a specific amount of money to spend at the grocery store, you will much likely remain in control to avoid impulse buying. You can splurge on your wants if there’s any balance in the budget allocated. The most important thing here is, stick with it! What’s the point of creating a budget if you end up looking for an ATM to cash out more money? Budgeting doesn’t mean that no fun is allowed. For that reason, allocate some fun money in your budget. When you go shopping, use the fun money allocated to buy the stuff you want. This way, you wouldn’t disrupt the budget and keep your finances in control.

Plan your purchase

Impulse buying happens when you buy things that weren’t in your plan. Then how to avoid that? Of course by having a plan. Get to know what the things you need before you go out shopping. Make a list and follow that list when purchasing. Having a list to plan your shopping can keep you on track and hinder you from getting distracted by other things. You may not need peanut butter but since they are having a buy-one-free-one sale, you may think that it is worth buying. That’s why it’s important to go with a list especially when you shop for groceries. Create a list, stick to it and shop around more to search for a great deal. Having a plan in mind, you will less likely to give into overspending. It is best if you can plan for other big purchases that are coming up months ahead too.

Wait before you buy

The most important thing to do when you’re about to make an impulse purchase is to give yourself at least 24 hours to decide whether you really need it or is it just a random purchase.

And the longer you wait, the better. Allowing yourself to wait helps to avoid impulse buying. The waiting period allows you to be more mindful of the purchase and keeps it from being an impulse. As you wait, you’ll get distracted with other parts of life and eventually get the purchase off your mind.

Most of the time, we buy something on impulse because we are attracted to the deals, how it was presented and not because we need it. By waiting for some time, you will get your mind to stop thinking about the feeling of owning it and more towards whether you’ll be using it or not. More often than not, you’ll realise that what you thought was worth buying isn’t that important after all.


Most of the time, we buy things on impulse not because we necessarily need them, but because we are attracted to them. Is it worth buying something only to regret it later? Know that buying is like warfare between the mind and the heart. It is best to think before you buy and not let your heart take control of your wallet. Remember to focus on your financial goals and spend only when it’s necessary.

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