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15 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying – Part 2

{ Posted on Nov 12 2010 by Marcus Alston }

Yesterday, in my blog post,  I shared my inspiration for writing about impulse buying.  Today, here are my 15 favorite ways to avoid impulse buying:

  1. Don’t go Shopping; Don’t Shop Hungry; Leave the Kids Home.  Pretty obvious, huh, but if you avoid the stores or at least limit how often you go, you cut down on the opportunity to buy on impulse.  If food shopping, don’t shop hungry or with the kids.  Studies show that shopping while hungry or with the kids will increase your spending.  Shopping with kids, even for non-food items can often lead to impulse buying for things for them.
  2. Make a Budget and Stick to it. If you are staying within budget (which should include categories for meeting all your financial objectives such as an emergency fund, retirement, and educational fund for the kids, etc.), your debt is under control, and the potential purchase is within budget, then you may be ok to make that impulse buy. To be within budget, the item should fit within your daily, weekly or monthly budget and be paid with cash or if charged, paid in full within the due date.
  3. Bring a List. Create a list of wants and needs.  If the item is on your well thought out list and you are within budget, you are combating impulse buying, even if the item is a want instead of a need.  You should purchase needs before wants.
  4. Avoid Browsing and Window Shopping.  If you have thought of what you need before you enter the store, you really may not need that item.  Avoid going to the store to get ideas of what to buy because you may find something great you want, but don’t really need.
  5. Don’t Let a Sale Make You Buy Something You Would Not Ordinarily Buy or Don’t Need. You will be bombarded with commercials, advertisements, coupons and sales.  Some retailers actually hike prices before putting them on sale!  Don’t let sales manipulate you into buying something you don’t need.
  6. Ask Yourself if You Really Need the Item or Do You Just Want it? Don’t purchase items that you don’t need unless it’s in your budget.  See item 2 above.
  7. Don’t go Shopping as an Activity Unto Itself or if You are Bored. Go walking, running, play tennis, read to the kids, go to the library, visit relatives, etc.  Anything but shop as an activity or because you are bored.  To avoid impulse buying, you should shop because you need something, not because you need something to do.  Shopping is NOT a sport.
  8. Leave the Credit Cards at Home and Pay with Cash: Studies show that when people pay with cash rather than using a credit card (or debit card), they tend to spend less.  Also, unless you bring a lot of cash with you, leaving the credit cards (and debit card) at home gives you fewer options to buy those unexpected things you find.
  9. Beware of the Internet. Advertisers are ready for you on the net with ads surrounding products you believe you need or actually do need.  Don’t get sidetracked by these ads by defining what you are looking for before you go on the net.  Again, stick to the list.  Also, try to stick to specific search terms instead of broad ones so that you will be more likely to encounter products you are looking for and not exposed to other items.
  10. If You Do Buy Something, Save Your Receipt. If you buy something, keep the sales receipt and packaging to give yourself the opportunity to return it.
  11. Make Yourself Wait. Consider establishing a waiting period from the time when you see something you want to when you go back and buy it—say 1 week.  See if you still want it at the end of the waiting period.
  12. Check Your Inventory. Do you have the item already at home?  Do your kids have the toy already?  Do they really appreciate the toys they have?  What do they really need (not want)?  What do you really need (not want)?  Check your house and closets and shelves for the answers.  Also, can you clean up and still use what you have?
  13. Don’t be an Early Adopter of New Products: Most new products decrease in price after they are initially released.  Additionally, later versions are often improved, cost less, and have more features and fewer bugs.
  14. Issue a Challenge to Yourself with a Reward. How long can you go without buying anything new?  I did this with my vow not to buy any new clothes for 1 whole year.  I also have a vow not to buy greeting cards.  If you meet the challenge, give yourself a pre-determined small reward at the end.
  15. Track and Invest the Impulse Buying You Avoid.  So how much impulse buying are you actually avoiding?  To make real savings from avoided purchases, consider putting the amount in a savings or investment account.

Do you have any tips on how to avoid impulse buying???  Please provide a comment below.

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  2. 15 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying – Part 1 |
  3. My Top Blog Posts from November and December 2010 |

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