Tips to Combat Impulse Shopping!

9:58 AM

Salam and hello!

It took me almost a year to come up with Part 2 of this series LOL. To refresh your memory, last December I have written an article on "Are You An Impulse Shopper?", tackling the reasons behind one being an impulse shopper :o 

Impulse buying is a dangerous habit that can get you into some serious financial troubles, especially when you don't track expenses regularly and end up spending more than you can actually afford. It's important for us to not buy anything out of impulse, especially with the economy these days happens to be rather unstable. Better prepare an umbrella before it rains, you would not want to regret as you get older yeah? So today I will be sharing a few tips to combat impulse shopping!

1. Create a 30-day list 

Make a new rule: you can’t buy anything (except necessities) until a 30-day waiting period has passed. Put a 30-day list on your refrigerator, and when you have the urge to buy something, put it on the list with today’s date. After a month has passed, you can buy the item. Many times the urge will have passed and you can just cross the item off the list. This works if you stick to your rule. The only exceptions would be groceries and other similar necessities. Making yourself wait a day, a week or even a month will most often help you determine if you truly need that item. You may even realize that you don't want it any longer or that you can purchase it somewhere else at a far better price. This simple rule also reduces the chances of experiencing buyer's remorse, which is a typical feeling for impulse buyers. Remember that delayed gratification leads to greater satisfaction, so you'll only have to gain by waiting a bit.

2. Don’t go to the mall 

You only get the urge to buy on impulse if you’re in a shopping area (or if you’re watching TV). So, prevent the urge from happening in the first place by not going shopping. Don’t go to the mall or other shopping areas. Only go to a store if you have a specific necessity to purchase, and go with a list. Don’t buy anything not on that list. Now get out as soon as possible. Don’t just walk around window shopping for entertainment, or you will be sorely tempted. Find other ways to have fun.

3. Don’t go to online retail sites 

Just as the mall will create the urge to buy, so will online sites - my own favourites to surf around would be Ebay or Mysale haha. They make it too easy to buy something. Instead, stay away from these sites.

4. Monitor your urges 

Make it a point to monitor your urges, if it’s a big problem. Keep a little piece of paper, and put a tally mark on it every time you get the urge. This helps you to become more conscious of the urge, which is usually something we don’t even notice. Different symptoms can appear, such as faster breathing or a faster heart rate, when we have the urge. By becoming more aware of the changes in our body, we can begin to get the urges under control.

5. Take a deep breath 

When you do get the urge, there are ways to calm it down. Deep breathing, self massage, walking around, and drinking water can all help control the urge. Take 10 deep breaths, and the urge will often be diminished enough to resist.

6. Calculate the value in life energy 

Calculate your true hourly wage. Keep that number handy, and the next time you want to buy something, divide the price of the item by your true hourly wage … this will tell you how many hours of your life you had to give up to buy that item. Sometimes the number of hours can be eye-opening, especially for more expensive items. Consider whether you really want to give up that much of your life for that item.

7. Plan your purchases 

Making a list before you go shopping is important. If you can make it a habit to stick to that list, you’ll eliminate a lot of little impulse buys. For other purchases, make it a habit to plan them, save for them, shop around, and even see if you can get it for free. Going through this process ensures that your purchases are more deliberate, and less on impulse. Plan ahead for birthday and Christmas gifts, and other large purchases that you know are coming up in the month ahead.

8. Freeze your credit card 

If using your credit card is a problem, consider giving it up completely. If that’s not a good option for you, try literally freezing your card. Put it in a Ziploc baggie with water, seal it good, and put it in the freezer (or send it off to Timbuktu *sicjoke*). Don’t write the credit card number anywhere. Now, if you want to make a purchase with the card, you’ll have to unfreeze it. That little wait of a couple of hours can be enough to stop you from making many purchases. Talk about annoying! Haha.

9. Limit access to your money

Leaving your credit card at home and carrying only the amount of money you will need in order to pay for the items on your list is a surefire method to curb impulse spending. Maybe it's just a mind trick, but when paying with cash you can actually “touch” and “see” the money you are spending (as opposed to debit or credit cards). This makes you more consciously aware of your personal finances, helps you make better spending choices and ultimately prevents impulse buying.

10. Ask questions 

Before you buy anything, ask yourself a series of questions. Is the purchase going to improve your life in some important way? Is the purchase supposed to make you feel better? Does it help you meet one of your life goals? Will it simplify your life? These are useful questions to help you evaluate the value of a purchase, and why you’re making it. Buying something you simply want yet can easily do without will simply result in cluttering your house with useless things. After making an impulse buy people quite often feel a sense of remorse and anxiety, regretting their unwise spending decisions. Try to evoke these feelings and analyze them before making the next purchase. Be honest with yourself — don’t try to sell yourself!

11.  Keep the end in mind

It’s useful to have clear goals in mind at all times. What do you want to do with your life? Do you have financial goals that you’re trying to accomplish, in the long-term and medium-term? Keep your savings goals in mind, and know when you’re about to make a purchase how the purchase will affect your goals.

12.  Don't shop when you are upset

People have all sorts of addictions and cravings. Some are addicted to food, others get their daily dose of satisfaction from shopping. Don't go shopping when you are angered, upset or depressed, otherwise you risk losing a lot of money on little impulse buys that you think will make you feel better. The purchase may bring you some temporary relief and a short-lived illusion of satisfaction, yet it will not cure you of your sadness, stress or anger. Simply to say, don't end up being a shopping junkie :v similar to drug junkies for example.

13. Go shopping alone

It's almost impossible to go out shopping with friends and not buy anything. You may be tempted or persuaded to buy things that you haven't intended to. Don't shop with people that are prone to impulse buying, they may influence your purchasing decisions and convince you to buy things you don't need or even want. It's better to go shopping alone or with someone who has frugal spending habits.

14. Don't be fooled by sales

Great deals, discounts, clearance sales, coupons – these are all very tempting words that can lure us into buying unnecessary things. More often than not, we end up buying items we don't really need. If you haven't planned on buying that item in the first place, then forgot about all these enticing offers and stick to your list. Remember that discounts don't always equal saving and a good deal is not always a bargain. Learn how to shop smart instead of buying cheap – this strategy is going to save you money in the long run. Ask the sales rep to give you some time alone so that you can consider all the pros and cons unhurriedly. This way you won't feel compelled to buy something just because she's wasted her time on you – after all, it is her job to attend customers and follow you around like a scarecrow. Pfftt. Plus it feels like you are being watched and scrutinised for your actions there hahaha.

And that's it! I hope these tips are be found useful :) Also a self-note to me as a reminder too. Teehee.

Til then blurbers :D

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