We have all been guilty of it from time to time. You head to the store with only a couple items in mind, and wind up leaving with a basket full of stuff…err crap. What happened? No matter how you ended up deciding to purchase all of that extra stuff, it most certainly isn’t free.
If you are living on a carefully planned monthly budget, giving in to impulse shopping is one quick way to fall off track. By avoiding impulse buys and sticking to your financial game plan, things will look a lot better at the end of the month.
We’re all bound to be tempted from time to time, but those who are wise with their money will not be satisfied by giving into financial temptation. While not earth shattering, hopefully the following simple tips will help you keep the impulse shopping at bay and more money in your pocket.
#1 – Make a List
Something as simple as making a shopping list before you leave the house is an easy way to limit impulse shopping. If it isn’t on the list when you walk in the store, it shouldn’t be in your basket when you leave. If you can stick to that rule, impulse purchases can be kept to a minimum.
#2 – Don’t Go Grocery Shopping Hungry
In terms of impulse food purchases, going to the grocery store when you are hungry is a recipe for disaster. Everything will look and smell delicious if you haven’t eaten in awhile, and you might find yourself leaving with a whole bunch of items you simply don’t need.
Try to fit in your grocery trip when you aren’t hungry so you can stick to your list easier and not break the budget on unnecessary food items. This is also not to mention the fact that if you want to eat healthy, many of those impulse purchases tend to be junk you just don’t need. At least, that’s the case for me most times.
#3 – Sleep on It
If you are tempted to make a purchase that you haven’t been planning on, leave the store and sleep on it for a day or more. If it still seems like a good idea the next day, then it’s up to you to determine if the budget will take it.
Giving yourself a night to consider spending the money is often all it takes to realize you would rather have the money still in the bank as opposed to being spent on the item you were considering. Suffice it to say, if you can see yourself living just fine without it then just keep the cash. You’ll be much happier in the long run, trust me.
#4 – Don’t Walk the Mall
Some people love to go walking at the mall just to walk. If it’s purely for exercise I can understand it. However, I know there have been many times (years ago) that I would go to the mall because I was bored or just wanted to hang out. You guessed it…that was also when I was in debt up to my eyeballs. Needless to say, this is a huge no-no if you’re in the least bit tempted to give in to impulse shopping.
If you’re looking for simple exercise try other things like walking at a park, or around your neighborhood. Heck, even try using the track at your local high school. If priced right, I think you could even argue that paying for a gym membership is likely to be more affordable than the money you could waste by impulse shopping your way through the mall.
#5 – Avoid Impulse Shopping by Paying Cash
Impulse items are generally more likely to be purchased when you are using a credit card. It is argued that if you’re paying with cash you feel the pain of handing that money over as opposed of swiping a credit card.
Instead, try to pay cash for everything that you buy at the store. That way, you will know that you are spending ‘real’ money on the item – not just using credit. This will make you think twice about the purchase, and likely have you come to the decision that it isn’t worth the money.
What are some tips you use to avoid impulse shopping? What is the last item you purchased that you still can’t believe you bought?
Photo Courtesy of: Polycart