I stood in my closet and held out the sleeve of a blouse that isn’t a great color for me and never really fit quite right.
Why did I buy this?
I’m sure it was because it was on sale. And now it is clutter. I didn’t need it when I bought it, and I don’t want it now.
Does this sound familiar?
Even though I’m a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I still make impulse buys. Usually it is because I spy something I think is a really good deal, but sometimes, I just get caught up in the emotion of a situation and make a bad choice.
Whatever the reason, I’m learning that there are ways to avoid impulse buys. And when I follow those ways, I walk away from a purchase happier.
5 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buys
1. Leave the cards at home. Before you head out the door, leave your debit and credit cards at home. Bring cash – but only what you need. You’ll be less tempted to make an impulse buy when you know you have limited funds to spend.
2. Seek support. When you’re tempted to buy things you don’t need, call a friend or family member instead. Friends and family are great at reminding you of things that can help you avoid impulse shopping – reminding you that you already have five things just like it at home, you’re saving up for a vacation, or you don’t have the room to store an item.
3. Add it to a wish list. If you see something you think you want, but you really shouldn’t be spending the money, add it to a wishlist. Some online retailers allow you to create a wishlist of items you’d like. You could also snap a photo of the item with your phone or make a list with pen and paper. Then walk away from the purchase. A week or two later, check your list. You may discover that you don’t really want the item after all!
4. Know what emotions trigger your impulse shopping. Keep this acronym in mind – HALT. Never shop when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Those are all dangerous emotions when it comes to your money.
5. Avoid places that tempt you. If you’re trying to avoid spending money, then don’t frequent places where you will be tempted to spend money. Stay out of stores where you typically impulse shop. Avoid shopping online. Skip browsing Pinterest or Etsy. Distract yourself with other things – declutter a closet, organize your photos, go for a walk – anything that keeps your mind off spending money.
It’s not easy to avoid temptation when there is so much of it everywhere you go. It helps to use these strategies and to focus on your financial goals. Remember all the things you have and the things you need. Eventually, the things you want will come.