Who doesn’t love the rush of adrenaline that comes with impulse buying?
Your walking round the store browsing, knowing you don’t really need anything, but your having a little look anyway. Then all of a sudden… something appears in front of you…. a shiny new item you never knew you needed, but now you MUST have it because its 20% off TODAY ONLY.
It feels almost like its meant to be, a deal sent straight form the heavens that you just can’t miss out on.
Sounds familiar right ? It should do.
According to an online study, the average person in the UK spends £144,000 on impulse purchases throughout their lifetime. One Hundred and Forty Four Thousand! On a monthly basis this works out to around £200 spent on impulse purchases alone. The study goes on to say that over the course of each month, an average of 9 impulse purchases are made by each individual, equating to a HUGE 6500 impulse purchases throughout their lifetime.
So how do we fix this destructive habit and take control of our finances ?
Here are my 7 top tips for ditching Impulse Purchases.
1. Stop shopping on Pay Day.
Unsurprisingly , the vast majority of impulse purchases are made on pay day or in the first few days that follow. You’ve been waiting all month for the day to arrive, and now its here, you finally get that huge paycheck deposited into your account, and now your ready to spend it! Stop right there. From this moment on, Pay Day will be a day where no purchases are made AT ALL. Set yourself a goal, for the first 5 days after pay day, excluding necessary bills that have to be paid, no other purchases will be made until that 5 day window is over. You will be amazed at how effective this method is to eliminating impulse purchases.
2. Make a budget, and stick to it!
No matter what you earn, you need a budget. Calculate what your in-comings and outgoings are for a typical month, and allocate a certain amount that you are comfortable spending, (if you need an idea to help you start this, check out my Monthly Income/Expenses post). This way you won’t feel guilty about making a purchase or two throughout the month, because you have an allocated amount for that specific purpose. However, here is the important bit to this point, you MUST stick to the budget. No matter what deals or sales or other incredible buys that appear throughout the month, you must stick to your budget.
3. Give yourself 48 hours to think it over.
Its so easy to buy something without even thinking about the price or whether you even have a use for it. So, note down the item in your phone, or take a photo so you can have a good look it again when you get home, and give yourself 48 hours to think it over. By doing this, you allow yourself to think about the item with a cool head and a fresh perspective, rather than making the instantaneous decision when your high on those crazy impulse feelings.
4. Keep in mind the BIGGER goals in life.
We all have goals that we value and are constantly striving to achieve. But in the moment, when your in a dizzy high about to make an impulse purchase, its so easy to forget these goals and make poor decisions. But, if someone told you that by making that purchase, your directly affecting your chances of achieving your long term goals, would you still make that purchase ? My guess is no, so keep in mind your goals at all times.
5. Take only the amount of money you need.
This one is simple but effective. If you know your going to buy certain items that come to the value of £20, then only take £20. This makes it impossible to purchase anything more than what you set out to buy in the first place. Constantly walking around with debit and credit cards in your back pocket means you have no limits on your poor decisions, so quit that habit, and take only the money you need.
6. Take someone shopping with you.
Don’t trust yourself ? Take someone with you. Make sure it is someone who will hold you accountable and will let you know when you are about to make an impulse purchase. This could be a friend, a child or even your spouse. Make it clear to them before setting foot in the shop, you are going to buy X, Y and Z and nothing more. If your struggling to get someone to agree to this, offer them something in return, maybe a coffee whist your out. It may seem counter intuitive to offer to spend more money when your trying to save money, but if spending a few pounds on a coffee for a friend could save you £20 in the long term when they talk you out of that impulse buy you were about to make, then that seems like a worthwhile investment to me.
7. Limit your time spent on Social Media.
These days, social media is a never-ending feed of advertisements, with a sprinkling of genuine news and updates. Even if you think your in control, over time the law of averages suggests your going to give in and click on one of these adverts, leading to an unnecessary impulse purchase. Now I’m not suggesting you remove yourself from social media altogether, however limiting the time you spend on these sites, or even limiting the amount of social media sites that your on, could make a HUGE difference to not only avoiding the urge to impulse buy, but it could also have a positive effect on your overall mental health too.
There’s no denying that impulse purchasing feels great in the short term, but in the long term it just leads to financial woes and regret. If you can be disciplined with yourself and your money, impulse purchases will soon be a thing of the past. Learn to implement these 7 tips into your daily life, I GUARANTEE you will see the incredible benefits it will have on your finances.
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