Kicking the Habit: How to Put a Halt to Impulsive Buying


As a credit card-obsessed society, we have seen waves of consumers get bogged down with unsustainable personal debt, all because they just couldn’t keep their wallets closed. This has commonly been referred to as impulsive buying, or the act in which an individual purchases an item without pondering the consequences of buying that item. Before sinking further into the seemingly endless ocean of debt, consider the following tips in order to curtail your destructive buying habits.

Impulsive Buying

1. Compare

Imagine yourself in a clothing store looking to buy a new shirt or maybe even a shiny new pair of shoes. People often fail to realize just how easy it is to drop  anywhere from thirty to over one-hundred dollars for a new clothing item simply based on the first impression. Instead of immediately running to the cashier, try mulling over this potential purchase for a few more minutes and  compare it to the other garments you already have. An excellent way to curb impulsive buying is asking yourself these simple questions: Do I need it? How often will I wear it? Do I already own something similar to this?

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You may find yourself putting it back on the shelf after thoroughly investigating the necessity of the item (it takes all the fun out of shopping, but its actually beneficial for you- financially). Furthermore, this comparison method can apply to anything you may be considering, not just clothes.

2. Think

Again, imagine you are in a store trying to decide whether or not you want to buy a new case for your laptop. Before you even think about bringing out your wallet, go the cashier and ask them if they would be willing to put the case on hold for a day or two. Leave the store immediately and continue on with your daily routine. If you find yourself thinking about the case in the subsequent days ahead and you have had time to evaluate your financial situation, then go back and consider it one last time before buying it. If you forget or decide you don’t need it after all, then you have successfully avoided an impulse shopping spree.

3. Limit

Before you go out on your next shopping adventure, simply limit the amount of money you take. Better yet, take the initiative to set aside a restricted amount of cash and leave the plastic at home. This way, you have a set budget and it is virtually impossible to exceed your spending limit since you have no other means of funds. Studies have even proven that people are more reluctant to spend money when using cash versus using a credit card.

However, if you are one of those people who find carrying around cash risky business, there is another option. To have the same effect, simply set a limit on your credit card. By calling the bank and having them set a certain limit on how much money you can spend at one time, a simple five minute phone call can help you take the necessary precautions to avoid returns and unwanted debt crises.

The benefits for taking these simple steps to help avoid impulsive buying can save your financial future. Not only will you be doing the obvious by saving money, but you are also saving time and headaches for yourself and your family. One of the worst parts of impulsive buying is not the monetary strain people put on themselves, but rather the time one spends making all of the returns.

As we all know, returning any item to a store, no matter what it is, is a long and frustrating process (if they’ll even take it back). You need to have the receipt, original packaging, and must return it within a certain time frame in order to be able to return it. Instead of wasting time in long lines in crowded stores, by curbing this financially destructive habit, you can spend the time doing something productive. And with the money saved, you can have enough for the necessities, such as rent or mortgage payments, petrol for your car, food for you family, and if there is any cash left over, put it into savings for something special later on down the road. Just make sure it is something you really, truly want.

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