Let’s face it: we’ve all succumbed to buying something on impulse and later regretted it at one point or another. We’re human after all, and impulsivity in all forms (e.g., not just shopping, but in eating and speaking) is common all around the world. However, unfortunately, impulsive purchases can set us way back in our savings goals, and can make a problematic financial situation even worse. That’s why it’s important to learn specific strategies to prevent impulsivity ever becoming a problem for us. If you need a little help curbing your impulsivity, and staying in full control of your purchasing behaviour, read on. Here are 5 simple strategies you can employ to avoid making those impulsive purchases.
1. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
There’s something about being in a supermarket whilst hungry that can derail even the most resolute shopper into an impulsive mess. Never, repeat, never, do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You’ll end up buying food that’s relatively unhealthy and that you don’t really need.
2. Always pay with cash.
It helps to have a weekly budget, and to only carry around your allocated spending money (whether for food, or entertainment) in cash – instead of on credit. Somehow, having the physical money with you makes spending more “real” and you’ll be in more of a position to rethink that potential impulsive purchase when you see that your money supply is limited. You’ll also prevent yourself from getting into credit card debt (check out www.foxsymes.com.au if you’re already in credit card trouble).
3. Stick to the 48 hour rule.
If a particular item has really caught your eye, give yourself 48 hours to sleep on it before making the purchase. Putting a block of time between your desire for that item, and handing over the money will allow you to determine whether you really do want it. Everyone has experienced buyer’s remorse at some time or another. By sticking to the 48 hour rule, you can limit the chances that you’ll ever feel this emotion again.
4. Shop less frequently.
Of course, if you want to limit the amount of items purchased on impulse, then limit the amount of times you go shopping. Simple enough, eh? The more you surround yourself with the opportunity to give in to your impulses, the greater the risk you’ll cave in.
5. Shop with a “frugal” friend.
Sometimes we need a frugal friend to accompany us when shopping to save us from ourselves. They can offer us a further line of defense when our impulsivity tries to overrun our rational minds. If you can, organise to go food shopping with each other on a regular basis. Not only will this give you an excellent chance to keep in touch with them, but you might just pickup some of their frugality by being around them. And everyone could be a little more frugal at times, no?
Managing your impulses when shopping is a constant struggle. Sure, it’s tough at times, but not impossible. All it requires is a little foresight and discipline. So the next time you feel a tinge of impulsivity coming on, relax, and remember the 5 strategies mentioned above. They may just save you from yourself.