How to avoid impulse spending

We’ve all been there at the shops and supermarkets, they have these very tasty snacks and chocolate bars, magazine’s right in front of the till. Can you avoid looking at it while you’re waiting for your turn? Have you ever bought something right there and then. If so this article is for you. If not, are you being honest about yourself?

Answer the questions below as best as you can:

  1. If you ask your partner or spouse, do they think you spend to much money?
  2. Have you ever been surprised at how much you managed to spend on your credit card when the bill arrives for the month?
  3. Do you have clothes and shoes that you hardly ever wear?
  4. Have you got the latest gadgets as soon as it’s out in the shop?
  5. Have you bought something in a shop that you did not know you wanted before you entered the shop?

If you have more than two answered with a ‘yes’, then you are prone to impulse buying behaviour. Nothing to be alarmed about as yet.

But it is not a very good thing. You know that you have to save for bigger spends that are not so urgent right now, but one day will be much more important to you. We are talking about a house, a car, a holiday or even an insurance policy or your retirement plan. Why not set yourself financial goals? That will help you resist the urge to spend money on things that are not that important in the long run.

This impulse buying will put a strain on your finances. And it can also be a burden for your relationships too. The best way to look at it is learn to separate:

  • your needs
  • your wants

Put whatever you need much higher on your shopping list, and this include the all important items that we mentioned above. Those shrewd advertisers know exactly how the human mind works. Give yourself a chance by understanding some of those buying triggers too. We are bombarded by adverts and one of the best ads will have some form of scarcity in it. We have a much higher sense of urgency when there is a limitid supply or when it is only today! But do you really need it? Do you really want it? Give yourself a cool-off period. That is a neat trick to avoid the scarcity trap.

How to avoid impulse spending

Always go shopping with a shopping list. Write down what it is that you need. And then stick to the list once you’re in the shop. If you still have problems and buy more than is on your list, take just enough cash to buy the items on your list and leave the credit card at home.

Next time you see something you think you absolutely need, write a reminder in your mobile, or use another calendar or agenda and give yourself a reminder two weeks from now: “Do I still need this item?”.

If you don’t you’ve saved yourself money and maybe even your relationship.