The Best Way to Stop Impulse Buying and Take Control of Your Money
Do you believe in shopping therapy? Is visiting a store and coming away with purchases a good way to cheer you up?
If you love to head to Target when you’re feeling down, but you know you shouldn’t spend the money, then this post is what you need. Find out exactly how to kill the shopping habit and take control of your money, and still find satisfaction in other ways.
Stop impulse buying and start living when you follow our best tip of the summer. Read on.
What Is An Impulse Buy?
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Some of your best purchases are impulse buys. If you see a good deal and suddenly remember your cousin’s birthday in a few weeks, then getting a good deal on the item now is a better option than waiting until two days before and paying full price.
But what about those random things that practically jump out at you from the end caps when you’re wandering aimlessly after a hard day? That jug for juice is something you probably already have at home, and chances are it sits in the cupboard because you don’t entertain as much as you thought you did. Yet instead of getting rid of the one at home and reducing clutter, you pick up the new one because it’s different in some small way and throw more wasted dollars after the first one.
We use shopping for therapy because it makes us feel good, for all sorts of psychological reasons. Unfortunately, a lot of those reasons are lies we tell ourselves. If we can use our heads a little more, we can avoid those impulse buys that are actually the same as throwing our money out a window.
You don’t have to stop shopping altogether. In fact, buying gifts for other people is a great excuse to get some therapy shopping done and get things you actually do need.
The key is this: make sure you actually need the things you’re buying before you fork over the cash.
How do you find that out? Do you have to do an intense psychotherapy session on FaceTime with your life coach in the middle of Target and get permission to make your purchases?
Of course not. You can buy only things you actually need if you give yourself a quick quiz before you hit the check out line.
Stop Impulse Buying with These Easy Questions
First ask yourself these basic questions:
Am I in a hurry?
If the answer is yes and you can somehow give yourself more time, do so. When you can think without feeling the pressure to leave right away, you make better decisions. Whether you call your friend to say you’ll be late to your meeting, or you leave and come back when you have more time, give yourself the freedom to spend time on a decision, rather than wasting your money.
Did I make a list before I came?
If so and you put something in the cart that wasn’t on the list, ask yourself if your list wasn’t thorough enough or if you really need the item.
Am I hungry?
Grocery shopping can count as impulse buying, especially if you’re starving. Buying food you don’t normally eat means you end up with more junk food in the house and you overspend on your grocery budget. Have a snack before you shop so that you’re not thinking with your stomach.
Once you have the basics out of the way, be honest with yourself. Identify the impulse buy items and ask these deeper questions:
Why do I want this?
It’s a good bet you’re telling yourself all the things on the sign told you about the item. Here are some positive truths to tell yourself to counteract the materialist tendencies:
It’s a really good deal (yes but it’s a better deal if I don’t spend any money at all)
It’s really cute (yes, but I have something just like it at home)
It’ll make me feel good (yes, but you’re already fantastic)
What did you do before to fulfill the job of the item you’re about to buy?
How did you ever survive without this item before? Actually consider this question carefully. If you are looking at a huge time saver or effort saver, you may want to get the item. Remember to double check budget concerns with other decision makers in the household if it’s a high-budget item.
If it’s something new and mostly a gimmick, you probably can put it back and go back to life as usual.
What can I trade to make this purchase worth my money?
If you’re willing to give up an item at home to make room for the new one, or willing to admit you don’t need the tools you used for the old way of doing things, then you may actually need the item.
Being Honest With Yourself
If you can’t tell yourself the truth, then no amount of help is going to work. But if you can answer the above questions honestly, you can stop impulse buying and start using shopping as a tool and less of a way to make yourself feel better.
Remember to make sure you actually need something before you buy it. That seems like an easy answer, but you wouldn’t need that ultimate tip if you already followed it. Use our handy questions to help yourself live smarter and make the best use of your hard-earned money.
For more easy ways to make mom life better, read more of A Wild Lass blog.