Tips to Control Impulse Buying

By Amy Maliga, Take Charge America

Few things can derail your plans to save money more quickly than impulse buying. And it doesn’t have to be a large purchase, either. A few small, unplanned purchases a week can really add up. Before you know it, the money you’d planned to save for the month is gone and you have very little to show for it. Impulse buying can be a hard habit to break.

Here are some tips to help you control the urge to buy on impulse:

Define & Share Your Goals

You’ll have more success as a saver if you know exactly what you’re working toward and when you want to achieve it. Are you saving for a vacation? A down payment on a new car? Or maybe you’re trying to establish an emergency fund with three months of living expenses. Whatever your goal, know it and share it with people who can help you make it a reality. Choose outspoken friends and family members who won’t hesitate to bring impulse buying to your attention.

Avoid Temptation

If you don’t need to shop for necessities, don’t go shopping. Staying out of stores will reduce the urge to buy something new just because it catches your eye. Also be sure to unsubscribe from retailers’ promotional emails. Seeing every sale, special and new product announcement triggers the urge to buy. When you do need to purchase something online, simply do a search for the retailer’s current promo codes to help you get the best deal.

Use Visual Reminders

Place a reminder card in your wallet next to your debit or credit card that lists your savings goals on one side and an encouraging quote on the other. It will make you think twice when you’re about to buy something you don’t need. You can also post your goal in your office at work, on the refrigerator at home, and on the bathroom mirror so it’s one of the first things you see every morning.

Impose a Waiting Period

When something shiny and new catches your eye, keep walking, go home and sleep on it. Tell yourself that if you’re still thinking about it after 48 hours, you’ll be able to consider the purchase. Chances are, you’ll forget about it long before the waiting period is up. If it’s still on your mind after two days, ask yourself if it’s something you truly need or just something you’d like to have.

Find Alternatives to Shopping

Impulse buying is often a response to boredom, loneliness or other uncomfortable feelings. Instead of taking your emotions out on your savings account, find other ways to address your feelings. If you’re bored, distract yourself with a good book or movie. If you’re sad or lonely, call a friend to chat or get together for coffee or a nice, long walk.

 

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 9, 2014

    Fourth saving strategy: Save automatically through a monthly transfer from checking to savings http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Transforming “I Can’t Save” to “I Will Save”

Written by Guest Blogger | January 13, 2016

You will not believe what it took to completely change my life. About three years ago, the HR Administrator of the corporation where I worked (as a temp with no benefits) forwarded an email to me. Fifteen seconds. One small act of kindness. That's it - that's all it took!

Read more...

Saving is a Family Affair

Written by Guest Blogger | May 21, 2019

Saving is truly a family affair for Jeff’s household. During America Saves Week 2019, he pledged to save for retirement. But making a commitment and creating a plan to save isn’t a new concept for him.

Read more...

Developing a Savings "Game Plan"

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Eunice Diaz, a teacher in Colorado Springs, had been noticing a pattern. Despite the fact that she and her husband were “making good money,” they were spending their entire earnings and “were still struggling at the end of the month.”

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up