As a financial blog, I just thought that I would be amiss if I don’t address the topic on how to avoid impulse buying.
Impulse buying is the cause of most financial problems that afflict us nowadays.
We see a thing and immediately we just want to buy it even though we have not planned for it and it is not a necessity.
In fact, impulse buying is the major cause of the looming credit card debt crisis.
This is precisely the reason why I prepared the article, “What Is The Best Way To Pay Credit Cards Off“. I did it to help those who have found themselves deep in credit card debt.
To some people buying stuff gives them the same high that you get from a drug. They simply cannot live without shopping. It is an addiction.
What is impulse buying?
Impulse buying is when someone buys a thing without planning for it. You just suddenly decide to use your credit card or debit card to buy something on a whim.
What causes Impulse Buying?
1. Keeping up with our friends
One of the reasons for impulse shopping is to keep up with our friends. We see our friends shopping and all of a sudden we feel the urge to buy too.
Unfortunately most of the time we end up buying stuff that we did not plan to buy and also things we do not need. Peer pressure is not just a problem for teenagers. It afflicts adults too.
Most of us don’t want to be left behind in fashion and “toys”.
2. Fear of loss
This is when we convince ourselves that if we don’t buy now then there will be no better opportunity. This is also compounded by the rise of credit cards which some people a sense of having more money than they actually have.
This usually occurs when there is a sale. We see a sale and we don’t want to regret having not taken advantage of the sale.
Sometimes the salespersons will work their magic to convince us that if we don’t take up their offer then we will never have another opportunity.
Marketing is now a science and most salespersons know how to manipulate our brains.
They know how to pass that analytical parts of our brains to appeal to our emotions.
Those who have mastered this will easily sell things to the gullible public.
This results in people buying things they would otherwise not buy at all.
3. Shopping Addiction
Shopping can be an addiction sometimes. There are people who cannot help but feel like they have to buy something.
They do this regardless of whether they like it or not. They just enjoy shopping.
Buying soothes their addiction. Shopping is like a drug to them.
If you are such a person it is high time you sought the help of a psychiatrist. Otherwise, you will end up in serious financial problems.
How To Avoid Impulse Buying And Curb Your Spending
Below are some tips that can help in avoiding impulse purchases and save money. We are all different and some of the tips may not work for you. I, therefore, urge you to use the tips that will work for you.
1. Leave your cards at home unless you really need to
One of the ways things you can do to avoid impulse buying and save money is to leave your debit and credit cards at home.
In this case, you will only take money for things that you have planned to buy that day. No more no less.
I know this may not work for all but it definitely works for me.
There have been situations where I have liked something and wanted to buy it only to discover that I don’t have extra cash or a card to use in paying.
Of course, this only works for purchases where you need an actual card but may not work if you are into mobile banking and for online purchases where your card is already online.
For me this tip works as most of my impulse buying is done in brick and mortar shops where I am easily attracted to things I don’t really need.
And even if it stops you from buying from only certain shops it is still worth it. Every penny you can save is worth it.
2. Use advert blockers when surfing the net
One way you can use to avoid impulse buying is by blocking adverts when you are surfing the internet.
This is probably one of the best ways to avoid online impulse buying.
Advertisers are finding new ways of enticing people to buy things that they may not need.
They will present some services and products as must-haves when in reality they are not.
A case in point is electronic gadgets.
I honestly don’t see much difference between one iPhone or Samsung model from another.
But Apple and Samsung are all looking at making more money every year and will release new models with very minor improvements.
I remember a couple of months ago I saw adverts speaking highly of the camera of one of the newly released phones.
While that may have appealed to some people I honestly did not notice much of a difference in the picture quality.
Because of this I have since last year only gone for old models of phones and therefore I end up getting some very good deals.
I rarely take photos anyway and even if I did my older version of a phone still produces excellent photos.
3. Monthly budgeting can help in preventing impulse buying
Most people who are victims of impulse buying are those who in most cases don’t take time to prepare monthly budgets.
Creating a budget can act as a motivating factor in making sure that you only buy things that are in your budgets.
If you don’t have a budget then you are more likely to be attracted to things that you don’t really need.
This is because you are not aware of your financial situation and may suppose that everything will be alright.
Most people only discover that they are in problems when they start missing payments.
This cannot happen to someone who takes time to prepare a budget.
Through the budget, they will have a list of the things they intend to buy that month.
A budget will also help you to know excess cash that may be available for you. An organized person will, therefore, know whether they can afford a thing or not.
It is therefore important that you learn how to prepare budgets and how to monitor and review it as the month progresses.
4. Avoid window shopping and as a consequence save money
Another trick to avoid impulse buying is to avoid window shopping or going to places where they are shops or shopping malls.
It is the same reason why an alcoholic should not be near bars otherwise they may be tempted.
The same should apply to someone who is addicted to shopping.
Shop owners have learned over the years how to entice people to buy things and can easily entice someone who is addicted to shopping.
In fact, this should apply to all of us.
Only go to shopping areas when you need to. Otherwise, stay away from such places.
5. Don’t go shopping without a list of what you want to buy
This may seem like a simple thing but it will save you money.
Never go shopping without a list of what you want to buy.
A list will help in ensuring that you only buy what you really need and also on your budget.
Going shopping without a list will lead you to buy things that you don’t need.
I can remember a few times when I have ended up buying stuff that I had in abundance at home.
All this could ben avoided had I taken time to go through my fridge and cupboards and list things that were missing or in short supply.
Making a list is just commonsense.
It is, however, useless to have a list and not stick to it.
You, therefore, need to make sure that you buy only items on your list.
If you happen to find other items, not your list just jot them down and review at home. Buying things just because they are on sale is not always wise.
Time is on your side therefore don’t be rushed into buying.
Go home and review everything and you may without pressure decided whether you need something or not.
6. Never buy a thing before you do some research
One of the reasons people find themselves victims of impulse buying is that they have not trained themselves to do some research before they buy anything.
As a result of the lack of research, they will discover that there are cheaper and better options somewhere.
This can be avoided by taking a few minutes to research a thing first and its alternatives before you make a decision.
Since the advent of the internet, it is now very easy to research almost all kinds of products.
You can research on how it works and also compare it to other similar products.
One can also use price comparison sites to find even better bargains.
As I pointed out earlier in a post on haggling, researching a product beforehand can give you the upper hand when looking for a bargain.
One can use the results of their research to get some amazing bargains.
I learned this the hard way a short while ago when I discovered that I could have saved some money on broadband internet.
Only if I had taken a few minutes of research before I committed myself to my present contract.
Learn from my mistakes and take time to do some research first before buying anything.
7. Never go shopping when you are stressed or sad
Have you ever realized that when you are stressed or sad then you end up making decisions that are not very rational?
Some people will eat a lot and frequently when they are stressed and some will use shopping as a way to deal with stress.
It is therefore important that you avoid going shopping when you are stressed and save money.
This is not the best time to do the shopping and can even be dangerous when traveling.
Most people who end up in road accidents are usually stressed or sad.
When you are sad or stressed you don’t think clearly. Therefore avoid any shopping unless it is for necessities.
Related Post: Best Budgeting Apps for Couples.
8. Bring someone with you when you go shopping
Sometimes it may be necessary to bring someone with you when you go shopping. Someone who can act as an accountability partner.
Your spouse could be that person as they have a vested interest in your family sticking to the budget.
It would be advisable that you let that friend or spouse know exactly what you want to buy. Y
ou could also make things easier for both of you if you give them permission to challenge you for any purchases beyond your plan.
9. Avoid joining all sorts of email lists
Nowadays companies, shops, and stores are working hard to have as many customers as possible on their email lists. This is because they use these email lists to send you all sorts of offers.
If you have a problem with impulse buying it may be advisable to avoid these email lists. Prevention is better than cure.
The good thing is that new laws are now forcing companies to respect your wishes on data. If you therefore decide to unsubscribe to these lists you can do it easily in minuets.
10. Find Free Ways To Reward Yourself
If you are like me you look forward to your payday as a day to thank yourself for the efforts you have put in in your work. I there almost always want to spoil myself by going to a restaurant of my choice.
While this alright now and then, maybe this is the time you need to seriously consider using free ways to reward yourself. In this way, you will avoid spending more than you need to.
This is especially true of people who are addicted to impulse buying as going to the shop can lead to other unnecessary purchases.
To reward yourself for free you can for example have a day off on that particular date. In this way, you will not have to spend more than you need to. Actually, you will save on transportation if you decide to spend the day at home.
11. Keep Reminding Yourself of Your Financial Goals
We all have goals that we have set for ourselves and some of these goals may be financial goals. One can use these goals as a tool to make you avoid impulse buying.
The trick however is to find a way to keep these goals before you always. Once you do that you can switch your mind to these goals and decide whether the purchase you are about to make will have an impact on those goals.
In fact, all the purchases that you make should be in light of these goals. In fact, these goals should form part of your budgeting process.
There is no better tool to control expenses than a budget as long as you stick to it. Otherwise, there would be no purpose in creating a budget if it is not followed.
There are various “tricks” you can use to keep reminding yourself of your dreams. Some people can make the list part of their keyholders. Some put it on their workstation at work.
In this way, they will be reminded of these goals every time they go to their workstation. This is in the hope that since the list is always in your mind you will seriously reconsider it before making your purchase decisions when at work.
Another trick is to stick your goals in your kitchen or seat room so that every time you are in the kitchen you will be reminded of them. You can even do this in your bedroom too.
It is fine if you don’t like my suggestions. You can try whatever works for you. There is no one way of doing this. People are different, therefore what works for me may not be what works for you.
In our affluent societies impulse buying is a big problem that has led to thousands going into avoidable debt.
I, therefore, believe that this post on tips on how to refrain from impulse purchases is very important not just to you but to me too.
There is no peace for those that are mired in debt.
I would, therefore, urge you to pick the tips that can work for you. It is easy to fool ourselves in thinking that our happiness comes from the abundance of items we possess.
On the contrary, happiness comes from being satisfied with the things we have and not desperately seeking more toys.
Don’t wait until you start receiving demand letters from creditors to control your buying impulses.
The time to control impulse buying is now.