One enemy that is sure to overthrow your monthly budget and frugal efforts is the impulse purchase. It can be hard to resist the instant gratification and thrill of an impulse buy. A treat here or there is fine, but an impulse buy too many could lead you steering well off your budget and buying things you may not necessairly need. You can beat the urge of a last-minute spend with these 7 simple tips.
1. Take time and think about it
If you’re out shopping for groceries or browsing the internet and begin to feel that tingly urge to make an impulsive purchase, stop! Most impulse purchases are made on a whim without much thought and that’s where it can bite your wallet. Make a conscious note of it, and then continue your way through the shop. This’ll will give you time to consider whether you really need it. For some it is particularly harder to resist online as it can be so quick and easy to make a purchase. A tip is to not store your credit card or PayPal data. This will slow down the process allowing you time to reconsider.
2. Leave the card at home
If you’re going somewhere where you feel you’re likely to splurge try to only take as much cash as you need and leave the plastic at home. If you’re going to buy a present take only as much as you to spend on the gift or if you’re grocery shopping take enough cash to get the food you need.
3. Stick to a list
In most cases it’s probably best to right a list of everything you need before you go shopping whether it food, clothes, gifts or homeware. This will help you stay focused and stick to buying only what you came for. You could also right down a list of stores you plan to visit so you don’t get distracted and get swayed.
4. Don’t shop when upset or hungry
Impulse buying can be motivated by emotional thinking which can make you less rational in your thinking and being upset or hungry are two of the biggest culprits of impulse buys. People often buy things to cheer themselves up when they’re unhappy for a short-term uplift and shopping when you’re upset can easily lead you to overspend. Likewise grocery shopping on an empty stomach will find you drawn in to spending more money and loading up your basket as you’ll base your decisions on what looks and smells delicious there and then.
5. Limit your time
You will always find something you want to buy if you have time to wander around so the less time you have to spend in a shop the less likely you are to buy things on a whim. Give yourself a set amount of time to do your shopping and make sure you go with a purpose. Plus this mean you’ll be spending less time looking at breakfast cereals and more time doing the things you want to be doing.
6. Install a time delay on websites
Like mentioned earlier it can be harder to avoid the urge to splurge when you’re online, a quick browse on your favourite clothing site at lunch or to kill some time on your journey to work maybe? You could block websites that trigger you’re impulse buying during time periods you know you’re at your weakest. Or you could install a time-delay add-on for those sites. Try Crackbook or LetGo which work by delaying your access to the website and the delay increase the more you try to access the site.
7. Give yourself an impulse buying budget
Let’s be realistic here, you can’t spend your whole life avoiding impulse buys. Sometimes you may come across a great deal or something you may never see again in which case it’s okay to spend on something you didn’t intend to buy, however only if you can afford it. A good idea might be to allow yourself a budget for impulsive purchases as a way of controlling how much you spend so you don’t have to feel guilty for buying the occasional expensive latte.
If you can’t remember all of the above don’t worry just remember to stay time bound, focused and leave the credit card at home when shopping. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever bought on impulse?