How to stop impulse buying

Many people have bought something at the store that they didn’t plan to get. If you buy something simply because you see it and want it, this is called an impulse buy.


Some estimates show that the average American spends a few thousand dollars a year on impulse buys. These purchases can add up to big spending.


If you’re trying to save money, take a look at your buying habits. It’s possible that your unplanned impulse purchases are standing in the way of a healthy budget and your long-term financial goals.


Try not to dwell on past impulse purchases. Instead, look to the future and decide that you will resist the urge to buy things you don’t need.


Why we impulse buy

Stores use certain tricks and techniques to make impulse buys happen. Plus, specific things happen in our brains while shopping that can lead to an impulse buy. Some of the reasons we buy things on impulse:

1.  A love of shopping and new things. Shopping can release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Once we experience this kind of pleasure, it can become a habit that is hard to break.

2.  Fear of missing a deal. Our desire to save money can lead to impulse buying. We see a deal on something and wonder if we will regret not buying it later.

3.  Hope that having this item will make our life better. For example, someone may think that buying a new blender means they will make a vegetable smoothie every day. Or, if someone is feeling depressed or angry, they may think this new item will fix their problem.


How to stop impulse purchases

If you think impulse buying is affecting you, there are ways to stop. Keep these things in mind when you go shopping:

•  Stop and think about the price. Ask yourself whether that item is truly worth what it costs. Think about how many hours you would have to work to pay off that item. Is it really worth buying?

•  Bring a list. Make your shopping list in advance and buy only those items.

•  Don’t use credit cards. If possible, only shop with cash or a debit card. This means you won't have seemingly unlimited funds. If that’s not possible, picture next month’s bill with that item on it. That number on your statement may make the item less appealing.

•  Don’t shop when you’re hungry, stressed, angry or sad. These emotions can prompt you to buy unwanted things.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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