If you’ve ever wondered how to stop impulse buying, here are a couple tips that could help you keep your impulsive spending at bay, and stick to your budget.
Leaving credit and debit cards at home, having a shopping list with you when you shop, and having a budget to stick to are all great ways to save and use your money wisely. And they work.
But an impulse buy most likely won’t be affected by these things, because it usually happens so fast you don’t think it through before you do it; by the time you do think about it, it’s too late.
By its very definition an impulse is unplanned. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary an impulse is:
“A sudden spontaneous inclination or incitement to some usually unpremeditated action.”
So how can you stop impulse buying?
One good way to stop impulse buying is to take the impulse out of the equation. The goal is to slow down the process, giving yourself time to think about what you’re doing. Anything you can do to stop the spontaneity of the moment you’re in when you pick up that item and plunk it down at the cash register, gives you a chance to reconsider making the purchase.
This is a two-fold process.
Step 1: Take a piece of paper and write something on it that will make you stop and think about spending money.
You might write something like “Will this purchase take me to my goal?” or “Do I really need or want to buy this?” or it might even have an image or description of something you’re working toward.
Step 2: Take the piece of paper and wrap it around your credit card, debit card, or even your cash (or all of these)-whatever it is you spend with. Wrap it good, making multiple layers on the card. Seal it if you can.
This works in two ways. One, it slows you down, which as I said earlier, is a good thing. In the time it takes you to unwrap the paper from your credit or debit card, you have the chance to think about what you’re doing.
Then, the note you’ve written to yourself gives you a second chance to reconsider.
If, after going through this process you still decide to make the purchase, then at least you’ve thought about it, and you’re making a rational, premeditated, conscious purchase. At that stage, you’re no longer making an impulse buy.
Nothing is ever going to completely stop impulse buying, but every spontaneous merchandise grab stopped is a step in the right direction.