5 Tips to Help Stop Impulse Spending

How to Stop Impulse Spending

If you’ve ever bought something you didn’t need and then wondered why you bought it, you’re not alone. Most consumers, at some point, bought something they didn’t plan on purchasing.

Clever marketing is used to lure consumers into making impulse buys  – that and a healthy dose of society’s attitude of keeping up with the Joneses — keeps consumers going back for the latest and greatest gizmo or toy. Ever stand in line waiting for the latest Apple product?

“It takes some discipline to avoid impulse buying,” Dominican University associate marketing professor David Aron told Bankrate.com. “Remember, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to buy it.” To help curb impulse spending, try putting these helpful tips to work:

  • Delay the purchase. Think there’s something you can’t live without? Think again. “Ultimate Cheapskate” author Jeff Yeager recommended at least a week to quiet that demanding voice that says buy it. He challenged his friends to try this method of curbing spending and found it worked. “Most people who try this say that, more than half of the time, they never go back to buy the item after the week-long cooling-off period, and even when they do return to the store with the intention of buying it, when they see the item again they often decide they no longer want it,” he wrote for AARP’s blog.
  • Make a list and stick to it. Whether shopping for groceries, gifts, clothes or other items, easier to focus on what is needed to be purchased if there’s a shopping list.
  • Be prepared to say no. It can be especially difficult when children want something while you’re shopping. ”It’s hard to say no to our children because we want to give them more than we had,” Certified Financial Planner Hillary Price told Bankrate.com.
  • Don’t use credit cards. Pay with cash. Credit cards give consumers an easy way to make spur of the moment purchases, but consumers need to stay away from them because of the high interest rates on those purchases. Try paying with cash instead. By limiting purchases to what cash is in hand, when it’s gone, the shopping trip is done.
  • Try layaway or return some items. Yeager recommended both of these options as a way to save money and curb impulse buying. If caught up with buyer’s remorse after making a purchase, a consumer always has the option to return the unused item. He warned, however, not to make a habit out of returning items, because stores track returns and might refuse the consumer.

By putting these tips into practice, you too can get a handle on impulse buying and work on getting and staying out of debt.

How do you curb your impulse buys? Please share your tips in the comments.

Photo Credit: laurariumartín