Impulse Buying and How to Curb It

Anyone who regularly uses the internet knows what it’s like to be bombarded with ads from online retailers, often tailored to their interests based on what they search for and what websites they visit. We see this in real life as well; just visit any store and you’re likely to find brightly colored signs advertising in- store sales. Whether it’s BOGO – buy-one-get-one free – or just marked discounts, a good sale can be hard to ignore, especially if you’ve got the shopping bug.

Impulse buying can cause serious harm to one’s budget if they aren’t careful, and it’s surprisingly not hard to overspend, especially when you’re shopping online and paying with a credit or debit card. If you feel like you’re having trouble with impulse buying, here are a few tips to help you quit:

Figure out what you actually need versus what you simply want.

It’s one thing to take advantage of sales when you’re shopping for necessary items, such as toiletries you use on a regular basis, or food items you know your family loves. Other ‘needs’ can be related to transportation, pet care if you have a pet, and anything your children might need. However, discerning between the necessary expenditures in these categories versus ones you simply want can make the difference in keeping a balanced budget.

Spend less on your “wants”.

If you’re really trying to curb your impulse shopping, a good place to start is to put a pause on buying things you want but do not need. Once you’ve gotten your spending and your budget under control, in time you can introduce those ‘want’ purchases back into your shopping cycle – but don’t go overboard.

Do your best to avoid stores, both in person and online.

It’s easy to get sucked into an e-retailer like Amazon and go wild with spending, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member. And it’s especially easy to find yourself spending a little too much time at your favorite department or big box store. If you’re trying to curb your impulse buying, go cold turkey for a stretch – avoid visiting e-commerce sites that sell the items you tend to want, and limit your in-person shopping for necessities like groceries and household goods.