01 Mar Stop Impulse Buying, Start Saving
At one point or another, most of us are guilty of impulse buying. Whether it’s clothing, home improvement, or a meal at a restaurant, it feels nice to occasionally have a “treat yourself” moment. If impulse buying starts becoming a common occurrence, it may be time to slow down and follow some of these tips:
Planning and listing is an important step when curbing the desire to impulse buy. Having a plan of action can be incredibly helpful for large buys as well as day to day purchases.
We’ve all used a grocery list to make our shopping trip as efficient as possible, so why not apply that list to other shopping trips? Before heading to the mall, make a note of the items that you really need. Is it a pair of running shoes to replace the pair with the hole in them? Is it a tube of toothpaste because you’re out? Having an exact idea of what you need makes it easier to go in and get what you need without a cart full of unnecessary products (yes, we’re looking at you Target).
It’s also a good idea to format a 30-day waiting list for larger purchases. This creates time for you to save, research, and make sure you’re getting a good deal. While it may seem like getting the purchase over with will allow you to get it out of the way and make room for saving, having a plan beforehand will make for a far less stressful buying experience.
If you come into any extra money, like a bonus or tax return, make a plan for that too. You can negotiate with yourself, and allow yourself to use 25% of that sum to buy whatever you’d like, and then put the other 75% into a savings account.
There are three questions you should consider when shopping.
1. Is this something that you really, truly need? For example, in the case of fashion, it’s easy to fall into the latest trend, but if you can’t picture wearing this article of clothing with at least 3 to 5 outfits, it’s not worth adding to your closet.
2. Are you going to be left thinking about it? Give yourself two weeks to think about your potential purchase. Either you’ll forget about it, or you can start making a plan to make the purchase.
3. Do you absolutely love it? If you don’t love it in the store, you’ll never use it at home. Whatever item you’re considering purchasing will never be as desirable as it is in the store, so if you’re not over the moon about it there, it’s not worth the money.
Use The Buddy System
Don’t trust your own willpower? Bring a friend along to help keep impulse purchases at bay. Not only are friends good options to help you from making unnecessary purchases, but they’re also a good option when you need an item for a finite amount of time. For example, instead of buying a new lawnmower for a day of yard work, ask a friend or neighbor if you can borrow theirs. Borrowing items helps you decipher what needs to be purchased or not. If you’re asking to borrow an item every weekend, it’s probably time for you to buy your own, but if it’s a one-time thing, you’ve just saved a whole lot of money.