Ever walked into a store and came out a few thousands poorer and a million times guiltier? You, my friend, have been a victim of impulse buying: that momentary gush of thrill that ruins your budget and eventually make you feel guilty than happy.
No matter how good we are at being the frugal buyer, the pull of a limited edition pair of sneakers or our favorite lipstick is hard to resist sometimes. Grappling with impulse buying? These seven tips will help you out:
1. Stick to a list
Writing a list of the things you will buy, whether they’re tools, clothes or groceries, is already setting the limit and drawing a line. It conditions you into purchasing only the things you need, keeps you focused on your goals, and prevents distraction. And of course, it keeps you from sneaking into a forbidden aisle and pulling a set of dishware you don’t need.
2. Pay with cash, not with debit or credit cards
With cash, you have visual evidence of how much money has flown from your wallet. Credit and debit cards can be deceiving. Without the physical form, you get the false sense of unlimited funds, and you might not feel the full impact of bills piling up.
3. Shop with cheapskate/stingy friends
There is a perk to having that frugal friend breathing down your neck to tell you enough is enough. And it is precisely this–saving you from thousands of wasted pesos and taking you to the cheapest places to shop. Some would call them “kuripot,” others would describe them as “killjoy,” but for someone like you trying to stay out of splurge danger, they’re guardian angels.
4. Never shop during a sale
Ah, yes. That shiny, shimmering “50% off” dangling enchantingly across the storefront, like a beacon of light luring a moth to its trap. Never, ever be fooled and tempted by sales. The huge markdowns can be love at first sight, but you’ll be buying things you never planned on buying or will never need. So before you enter the store or click the “buy” button, step back, breathe, and walk away.
5. If you’re grocery shopping, shop with a full stomach
The problem with grocery shopping on a hungry stomach is that you’re likely to look at food as something to eat, rather than as products to buy. If you’re thinking with a starved mind, you want it all all all! Before you know it, you’ve dumped twice the amount of items on your cart as you originally planned. So next time you go grocery shopping, have a full, healthy meal first before heading to the store.
6. Limit your shopping time
The trick is to get in, then get out as fast as you can. The less time you spend inside the store, the less damage you’ll do to your wallet. Once you’re done with the essentials and you’ve accomplished your purchase goals for the day, don’t bother dawdling on aisles and checking out items you may or may not need.
7. Plan for an “impulse buy”
Treat yourself from time to time. You’re less likely to make big impulse purchases if you allow the occasional small splurges. Because you’re less deprived, you’re able to exercise more self-control when your favorite brand of lipstick suddenly materializes before your eyes.
While some impulse purchases seem like a reasonable deal, most of them do more damage than good. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and follow these easy and practical impulse-curbing ideas.