Do you ever walk into a store with your list of three items and come out of the store with a cart full of stuff? It happens to the best of us. I am getting better at not buying stuff as I have some pretty hefty saving goals right now. Here are 5 simple strategies to stop impulse shopping that work for me.
Strategies to Stop Impulse Shopping
Impulse purchases refer to unplanned decision to buy a product or service, made just before a purchase. Impulse purchases can be small like a candy bar at the register or large like an all-out shopping spree. Advertisers and stores exploit our impulsive tendencies by putting products and buzzwords around the shopping experience.
Get an Accountability Partner
If your married, your spouse can be your financial accountability partner. If you are single, choose a trusted friend that has great money habits. This especially works for my husband. I give him a gas budget and for one week I tried the envelope system with him and he spent some of the cash on junk food. He shared with me what he did since I found the receipt, but said not to give him cash again. He would rather have the card since he knows I will look at the account and then get upset if he spends foolishly. Sometimes the envelope budget works, sometimes it doesn’t. Do whatever works for you.
Make a 24 Hour Rule Regarding Purchases
Make a rule to not buy anything outside of your normal expenses unless you have waited 24 hours. You don’t have to do this for small purchases but for large purchases and shopping sprees it is a good idea. Make a dollar amount limit if you want to. In those 24 hours, research what product you want to buy. Read reviews, check price points, and really decide if you really NEED that item.
Make a List and Stick to It
Lots of people make lists, fewer people bring them to the store, and even fewer people stick to the list. Sticking to a list is one of the most simple ways to stop impulse buying. This applies to both grocery shopping and other shopping adventures. I think the worst for me is a home improvement project. I go in for a couple of things and then end up spending much more because I was inspired by designs at the store rather than my original design.
Limit your Shopping Time
If I have my list, I know shopping should take me a certain amount of time. Spending 2 hours at Target to pick up 4 items usually means I am trying to buy more items. It may be funny in memes but in reality, that extra money could probably be better used elsewhere. Usually going down extra isles, looking for sizes and styles, and chasing rabbit trails takes time.
Don’t Shop Distracted
I know this can be hard with children and/or other family members in tow but if you are frustrated or stressed out during the shopping process then you are not really paying attention to what you are buying.
Avoid Emotional Shopping
Some people eat when they are bored and some people shop to improve their mood. I know I do it sometimes and then regret the money I spent, even if it was a great deal. A budget is a budget for a reason. Instead of retail therapy, try art therapy or time with friends therapy. I love adult coloring books!