In a world filled with fast fashion and instant gratification, it’s no wonder that impulse buying has become a rampant problem. According to a study by CreditCards.com, more than 9/10ths of Americans admit to impulse buys at least once in the past year.
The consequences of impulse buying can be disastrous both financially and emotionally. Not only do you end up spending more money than you intended, but you may also have to deal with the regret and buyer’s remorse that often comes with impulse purchases.
If you want to start getting your spending under control, it’s important to learn how to resist the temptation of impulse buying. Below, we’ll cover eight smart ways to do just that. Let’s get started!
How to avoid impulse buying
Avoiding impulse buying is easy as long as you follow a proven formula. Here’s an eight-point system millions have used all over America to tighten their wallets and improve their frugality.
1. Make a budget and stick to it.
If you want to avoid impulse buying, the first step is to create a budget and stick to it. When you have a clear idea of how much money you have available to spend each month, it’s a lot easier to resist the urge to buy things on a whim.
2. Use cash instead of credit cards.
Credit cards can be a major contributor to impulse buying, since they make it easy to buy things without having to worry about the cost. To avoid using your credit card for impulse buys, try using cash instead. When you only have a certain amount of cash available to spend, you’ll be less likely to buy things that you can’t afford.
3. Make a mandatory (must-buy) list.
Another way to avoid impulse buying is to make a list of the items you need before you go shopping and stick to it. This will help you stay focused on the items you need and avoid buying things that you don’t.
4. Avoid temptation by avoiding high-traffic areas of the store.
If you’re trying to avoid impulse buying, it’s a good idea to avoid the high-traffic areas of the store, where you’re likely to be tempted by all of the latest and greatest products. Instead, shop in the lower-traffic areas where there are fewer distractions.
5. Use zero-based budgeting
Zero-based budgeting means that, at the beginning of each month, you allocate all of your free money into the various categories you’ll be spending. So, for example, you’ll have a category for groceries, another for fun entertainment, another for clothes, and so on.
A useful trick is to stick your monthly budget into an envelope and only use the cash in the envelope when you’re shopping. When the cash is gone, you’re done spending for the month.
6. Delay your purchase.
If you’re not sure if you want to buy something, try delaying your purchase. Oftentimes, after a few hours or days of waiting, you’ll realize that you don’t actually need the item.
Many of you reading this are self employed, and rely on making invoices or printing paystubs regularly. Delaying your purchase also fulfils the dual purpose of allowing you to accumulate more money before the next buy, lightening the load on your wallet (and making sure you have enough room for essentials!)
7. For every new item you buy, get rid of an old one.
One of the best ways to avoid impulse buying is to adopt a minimalist mindset. For every new item you buy, get rid of an old one. This will help you declutter your home and get rid of the temptation to buy more things.
8. Use a budgeting app
A major reason many people let their finances fall into disarray is that they don’t actively see where their money is going. Similar to zero-based budgeting, most finance apps let you break your spending down into categories, which can provide insights on the mistakes you’re making. A basic (but hard-won) rule: if you don’t track it, you won’t improve it!
Final thoughts on avoiding impulse buying
In summary, impulse buying is a devastating problem for many Americans. Not only does it lead to overspending, but it can also cause regret and buyer’s remorse.
If you want to get your spending under control, start by resisting the temptation of impulse buying. Every time you feel the urge to buy something on a whim, use one of the eight strategies listed above to help you resist.
With a little bit of self-control, you can break the habit of impulse buying and start getting your finances in order. Best of luck!