Five Ways To Avoid Impulse Buying

Many people use retail therapy to uplift their mood from time to time. However, shopping on impulse can be a perilous habit.

Have you ever queued at the check-out line and picked out an item that you didn’t consider purchasing in the first place? Well, that is impulse buying and it can turn into a bad habit, undermining your overall savings. Shopping is a fun activity, but sometimes it’s just hard to resist the temptation, especially during the sales season where everything looks like a bargain. Here are some strategies you can apply to avoid such buying decisions and balance your budget.

Delay your purchases

Give yourself 24 hours to think about something you want to purchase. Leave the items in your cart, and physically get away from your laptop or phone. Having a mental checklist you can go through to ask yourself if the item you want to buy is something you really need, or if buying it will cause you more harm than good.

Differentiate between needs and wants

Needs are different from wants and the deficiency of the former results in a negative outcome. So, whenever you are bitten by the shopping bug, ask yourself whether the potential purchase is a legitimate need or a want. If it is a want and not a need, give yourself some time to think about it. Is it something you have wanted for a while, or are you interested only because it’s on sale?

Use cash instead of a credit card

Buyers tend to spend less if they pay in cash rather than a credit card because it is psychologically harder to hand out cash. Also if you only have limited cash in your wallet, you will give it a second thought before handing it over to a cashier. If you find it difficult not to use your credit card, simply leave it at home.

Find support

Finding accountability and support can go a long way in preventing yourself from impulsively spending. Having an accountability partner that you can check in with once a month is a crucial strategy. This person can be a friend, spouse, or someone who is also working on their financial health. Have monthly check-ins where you honestly share about how you’re doing and get support and feedback. Having a financial advisor or counselor can also help maintain a healthy financial lifestyle and help you manage impulse buying.

Don’t shop to cheer yourself up

Be aware of your habits, such as whether you tend to make impulse purchases when you’re happy or sad. Impulsive buyers, when experiencing less happiness, may buy things just to improve their mood. Instead of shopping, try going for a walk, exercising, listening to music, or hanging out with friends, but avoid spending money at all costs.

From now on, try to make spending decisions with an open heart, an open mind, and open eyes.


Satavisha hails from the city of joy, Kolkata. She took up writing as my profession amid the pandemic when the world was at a standstill. Here, she acquired a balance between her passion for writing and sharing various ideas and facts through her stories.
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