How to Stop Impulse Buying: 8 Tips For Avoiding Impulse Buys

Aimee Rebecca
by Aimee Rebecca

We are going to talk specifically about how to stop impulse buying and wasting money in general. Impulse buying is the devil when trying to save money and budget effectively. If you're an impulse buyer, you might wonder how to stop doing that. We're going to cover ways to avoid impulse buying.

1. Keep track of spending

My first tip to help you stop impulse buying and start saving more money is to keep track of your spending. When you start trying to cut any expense out of your life, you must confront it first because you might not know how much money you're spending at the moment.

You can keep spending as usual for two weeks, two months, or even three months, but keep track of every purchase you make. At the end of that time when you've been keeping track of your spending, you can go back, add it all up and see exactly how much you've spent.

Knowing how much you spend is important before you try to make any changes.

2. Know what you already own

Make sure that you are acutely aware of what you already own. If you are an impulse buyer or enjoy shopping for fun, you probably have a lot of stuff.

Maybe you even have so much stuff that you can't quite keep track of what you already own. So you might go to the shops and think this black dress is perfect, not realizing that you already have one, maybe two, black dresses back at home that you'd completely forgotten about.

Know what you already have so you don't go out and repurchase something you don't need.

Keeping a wish list

3. Keep a wish list

This is not the same as writing a shopping list of everything you want. Keeping a wish list is more of a long-term list of things that will serve you a purpose. Anytime I see something advertised that I'd like to own, I don't go out and buy it immediately. I put it on my wish list.

When I eventually feel like I need that item in my life and it's within my budget, I can go back and buy it.

The difference between going out and buying something immediately when you don't need it at that moment, compared with waiting until the time is right, is that with a lot of things, you might end up scratching them off the wish list altogether.

4. Don't go to shops

Going shopping was my typical Saturday day out. Is it even fun? It's a lot of crowded spaces, loud music, trying things on, and getting your hair all messed up.

Now that I'm more mindful of my money, I just don't put myself in a space where I'll be tempted to buy things I don't need. I don't go out shopping to shop, nor do I spend time trolling through online shops.

Waiting before buying

5. Wait an hour before buying

Give yourself at least an hour before you make a purchase. Say that you're shopping for a new dress.

You go into the shop, try

it on, and think, this is the dress for me. I would recommend taking a lap around some other shops, maybe going for lunch, grabbing a coffee, and then really letting that decision sink in before you make the purchase.

So many times in my previous shopaholic lifestyle, I would buy things just because they were there.

Many things I didn't even really want, and many times I would be too lazy to try things on. I would pick two and think that when I got home, I'd pick which one I wanted and then return the other one. I never return the other one. I wasted money. Be a mindful shopper and take your time.

6. Check for free items

See if you can get what you want for free in some way. If there's a book that you want to read, go and get it from the library as opposed to going out and buying it.

If you have a wedding coming up and need a formal dress, see if you have a friend who has one that you can borrow instead of buying one that you'll wear once. Always try to borrow first before you commit to buying where you can.

Making shopping a treat

7. Make purchasing luxuries a treat

At first, this was a big adjustment, but now I enjoy this part of my lifestyle. Make purchasing little luxuries for yourself a treat rather than an everyday occurrence. If you're treating yourself every week or every day, then is it a treat? It becomes part of your everyday life.

So yes, it's hard initially to cut ties and say, I'm not going to treat myself once a month, but once every couple of months instead. When you get into that habit, you start to look forward to those little luxuries, and it does start to feel like a treat again.

8. Keep your financial goals in mind

My final tip to help you stay on track, stop impulse buying, and save more money is to keep your financial goals in mind. First, you need to come up with some financial goals.

Have something specific in mind that you want to save for, and always keep that in the forefront of your mind. Print out a picture of the car or the holiday, put it on your fridge, put it on your desk, or even keep a little cut out of it in your wallet so that when you spend money, it's there, staring you in the face.

You will realize that that goal, which you're saving towards, is worth a lot more than buying some home decor or a dress you're going to wear once.

How to stop impulse buying

I hope my experience motivates you, so you're not stressing about money and not feeling guilty about the purchases you make. You'll feel better about your finances once you get to that point.

If you have other tips that you would like to share that have helped you avoid impulse buying, share them in the comments below.

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