Last Updated August 25th, 2017

Beat Your Impulse Shopping Habit To Save Money

Beat Your Impulse Shopping Habit To Save Money

Most people like to shop. There’s always something new you want, clothes, the latest gadget, even that snack by the register that looks so good. You tell yourself you’re just browsing, just considering it, but soon enough, you’re serious, and you’re buying it. Some days it’s hard to avoid getting that impulse purchase, even when you’re trying to save money.

There are a few simple ways to cut down on impulse shopping.

Come Back Later

Telling yourself you can come back later can be a huge help for controlling impulse shopping. It’s not like the impulse to buy is always wrong. It is sometimes, and that’s where deciding to take more time to think helps.

With most purchases, coming back later isn’t that big of a deal. Most things you want will still be there in an hour or a day, or whenever you get back to it. If you really need or want the item, and it’s a reasonable purchase for your budget, getting it a little later is not a problem.

The idea here is to cut out the impulse part of impulse shopping. Give yourself time to think, and you will know in a while if your reaction was to seeing an interesting item or if it’s something you need.

Depending on where you are and what the item is, you might walk away for a short time or several days. It depends in part on how easy the item will be to get later.

When my husband and I were at the fair, for example, he came across a garage door storage rack. It’s a pretty neat idea – you can put your shovel and other long-handled garden tools onto it, and the rack hangs on the garage door. The items stay put even if you open the garage door.

He didn’t buy it right away. We walked the rest of the shopping areas of the fair, did some more fun stuff, and on our way out he decided that he still wanted the organizer. He bought it.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am still waiting for him to use it. He has gotten as far as taking it out of the box. He hasn’t done any big organizing in the garage lately, but I’m letting that slide.

Possibly, this was a foolish purchase. If he never gets around to putting it up, then it was definitely a foolish purchase. But it was the only one, and I still have hope for it. There were other things we considered buying. I can’t even tell you what they were, because they’ve been forgotten. Interesting in the moment, but not beyond. Coming back later kept several other purchases away.

The thing to remember is that pretty much anything you see while out shopping will still be there later. Very few things are all that limited, and most really limited things you might buy on impulse aren’t things you need. The things you need are more likely to be there day after day, week after week.

Coming back to a potential purchase later works pretty well if you have a few options to consider. It’s time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the things you’re considering. You might find that an item that attracted you immediately doesn’t matter as much as one you notice with a little more thought.

What About Grocery Shopping?

Impulse purchases can be extra difficult to avoid when you’re grocery shopping. Not only do they put tempting items all around the store, they keep it up right to the cash register. Inexpensive candy and treats are there for a reason!

The first thing to do to avoid impulse shopping at the grocery store is not go shopping hungry. Go after you’ve had a meal or at least a snack. The hungrier you are, the more you’re likely to spend.

The second thing is have a list and stick to it. If you know what you need, the things you don’t need are less tempting.

There are two big reasons to control impulse shopping at the grocery store. The first is financial – it’s amazing how quickly impulse purchases there add up over time.

The second is that many grocery store impulse purchases really aren’t that healthy for you. Chips, soda, candy – they’re all tempting and shouldn’t be bought all that often. There are healthier snacks out there that are pretty good. If you can find the right ones, it’s easier to avoid the wrong ones.

Use Cash

When you’re shopping in person, stick to cash to control impulse shopping and save money. Bring no more than you’re willing to spend and can afford. You’ll think your purchases over more carefully when you know there’s no way to go over budget. Leave the credit and debit cards at home if possible, or at least refuse to use them.

Do A No-Spend Month

Try having a month where you only spend money on necessities, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, food, and gas for your vehicle. No buying clothes. No extra stuff. If something tempts you, make a note of it, but don’t buy it until you reach the end of your no-spend time.

Much of what tempted you won’t matter to you by the end of the month. That’s money saved.

Look At What You Already Own

When you want to buy something, take a look at the stuff you already own, especially if it’s similar.

When you want to buy a new pair of shoes, go over the shoes you own now. Do any of them really need replacement. Would these new shoes do something for you your current shoes won’t?

Do the same for other purchases you’re considering. If you already own something good enough, you don’t need to buy something new.

Just Don’t Look

The final way I’m going to discuss to avoid impulse shopping is the just not look. Don’t go places just to window shop too often. It’s too likely to turn into impulse buying.

This includes shopping malls and shopping online. I know quite well how dangerous Amazon can be. They’re very good at suggesting items you might find interesting. Bad enough when you’re there to buy something you need. No need to give them more chances when you don’t need anything.

Avoiding the places where you have trouble resisting impulse purchases is a good idea. Try keeping track of your impulse purchases. How many were actually good purchases? How many weren’t? Which ones would you have still bought if you had taken a little longer to think about it? You can learn a lot about your impulse purchases and shopping habits if you stop and review.

What works for you to avoid making too many impulse purchases?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 16th, 2011

Come Back Later – A Simple Money Saving Tip

Most of us like to shop. It’s fun to see all the things you’d love to own, whether it’s new clothes or the latest gadgets. The only problem is that looking often leads to buying, and that’s bad for most budgets. How can you keep your impulse shopping under control.

My own preferred method of handling impulse shopping is to control the impulse part of it. I rarely allow myself to buy on impulse. I have to think about it first.

If you can get past the urge to buy right away, it’s really not too hard. Build the habit of walking away from something you want to buy on impulse. Go look at other things. Maybe even give it a day or several.

The idea is to give yourself time to think if you really need the item or if it’s just a want, and if a want, if it’s worth giving in to that want.

The thing to remember is that pretty much anything you see while out shopping will still be there later. Very few things are all that limited, and most really limited things you might buy on impulse aren’t things you really need. The things you need are more likely to be there day after day, week after week. Even if you don’t buy them right away, they’ll probably be there later.

Coming back to a potential purchase later works pretty well if you have a few options to consider. It’s time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the things you’re considering. You might find that a feature that attracted you immediately doesn’t matter as much as one you notice with a little more thought.

This even works when it comes to buying snacks when you’re out grocery shopping. This can be good for your grocery budget and your waistline, depending on the kinds of impulse buys you tend to make there. Of course, better yet for controlling your grocery shopping is having a list and sticking to it.

Of course, if impulse shopping is a problem for you, the first step may be finding ways to limit how often you do any sort of shopping that can lead to impulse buys. If you like to just wander shopping malls or online shopping sites, or if you get easily tempted when you see an online review for a product, it helps to find ways to avoid those situations. Look at when you’re getting tempted and how often the temptation is to buy something you’ll be glad you bought in the long run. If you’re getting tempted into far more bad purchases than good, it may be time to find something else to do.

A little patience and a little planning can help you quite a bit when it comes to controlling your impulse shopping habits. What works for you?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.