It’s that time of the year when social events and family gatherings abound. You’ve got to dine, wine, and yeah, dress well. And to do all of that, you need to spend money. That’s understandable. But if you don’t know how to avoid impulse buying, you risk spending more than you bargained for during this period.
It’s a sad truth. The joy that comes with a celebration can be overwhelming. Even when we’re not in a festive season, so long as you’ve got the money, there’s this urge to always spend it on something.
That’s why Warren Buffet advised:
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”.
But even after saving, you can still find yourself buying clothes, shoes, and other fancy items on impulse.
It’s completely normal. DAC Group says 88.6% of Americans have succumbed to the temptations of impulse shopping.
That’s a lot of people, and if we want to include Nigeria and other African countries in that stats, we’ll see that more than half of the world’s population has given in to this temptation.
Now, guess which generation makes more impulse purchases? A study revealed that 52% of millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation. That answers my question, right?
So, you see, impulse buying is a universal problem. And if you don’t tackle it, it can ruin your financial life.
Yes, impulse buying can get you broke!
Our style tips and beauty hacks will all be useless if you go broke. How would you get the money to stay in the loop of fashion trends and practise what we preach here? Unthinkable!
We know the importance of money in this lifestyle called fashion. That’s why you have this article right under your nose— to show you how to avoid impulse buying during festive seasons and every other day.
So, if you’re ready to resist the pretty temptation called impulse purchases, let’s dive right in.
Why People Make Impulse Purchases?
Why do you think you can’t resist buying something on impulse?
Consumer studies have delved into the matter and they all arrive at the same conclusion— we’re all likely to buy things we never planned to buy. It all depends on our level of discipline and self-control.
Nonetheless, here are some of the reasons you (and everyone else) buy on impulse:
Ever walked into a store (whether offline or online) and parted away with your money because you saw they were on sale?
50% discount, buy two get one free, Black Friday sales, etc., are all marketing phrases that have an impact on your psychology.
And when it happens, your brain gets excited, thinking, “oh well, I just got a good deal. Lemme take it.”
Of course, you just got a good deal; a good deal for what you never planned to get.
For some people, when mood swings come and they go shopping, they end up buying what they never planned for. That’s why experts advise that you never shop when you’re in a bad mood.
According to Psychology Today, impulse buying may be an attempt at coping with feelings of being incomplete or being imperfect. And when you give in to it, your behaviour is under the influence of feelings and psychosocial motivations rather than thinking.
You can also make impulse purchases while undergoing stress or distractions. Picture a nursing mother with a crying child and a phone to her ears, talking to a friend. Do you think she’d be focused on her shopping? Her mental space may not be able to process everything at once and so, when her eyes meet something fanciful that she once must have admired, she makes an impulse purchase.
Fear of Missing Out
This is one tactic marketers use. They add a deadline to their offer and you have no other option than to get it immediately.
The fear of scarcity is enough push to buy what you never planned to get. You don’t want to be left out, so, you part with your money and get the offer.
Similarly, some people buy on impulse because they fear an item could become scarce and expensive. And to save themselves from that scarcity, they stockpile.
To Massage Their Ego
For some, they buy to feel good or stay in vogue. There’s that feeling of pride when someone compliments your outfits, curtain, or piece of furniture in your house.
If this is why you buy without prior plans, it’s understandable. You just wanna satisfy your esteem needs. But aren’t there better ways to do that other than impulse buying?
To Satisfy Cravings
This mostly happens with food items. Sometimes, it’s a little craving in your heart— like chocolates or candy— waiting to be satisfied.
You may even crave a new pair of sneakers. And when you satisfy these cravings, it makes you feel good at the expense of your pocket.
If your parents weren’t good spenders and you aren’t deliberate about your financial life, you’ll make impulse purchases.
According to a 2019 poll, the way parents handled money and the state of their household when growing up were the top two reasons people gave for their money lifestyle.
You may not know, but this could be the reason you give in to impulse buying. An apple never falls far from the tree, remember?
They Can’t Resist Good Things
Another reason people buy on impulse is that they just can’t resist seeing nice things.
For example, if you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’d know there’s always this passenger who keeps buying anything they see while on the journey. You can’t blame them. They’re victims of impulse buying.
It’s the same way you walk on the road and see a nice scarf. You never planned to get it when you left the house, but you do so anyway because it looks good and you need it to stay fashionable. That’s the usual excuse, right?
How to Stop Impulse Buying
In the words of Andrew Schrage, co-founder of Money Crashers:
“It is absolutely important to avoid making impulse buying a habit because it can lead to several dangerous financial consequences.”
Perhaps, he didn’t wanna sound harsh that was why he used “dangerous financial consequences”. But I’ll tell you pop and plain: If you keep buying everything on impulse, you won’t attain financial freedom.
You’ll keep making money and spending on frivolities you had no intention of spending on.
Do you want that for yourself? I guess not. So, use these tips and say goodbye to impulse buying forever.
1. Make a Budget and Stick to it
This is one shopping hack that’ll never get antique. Before you go shopping, create a budget to guide you on how to spend your money. But that’s not enough.
You also have to resolve to stick to your budget for as long as your shopping time lasts.
A budget shows you where you want your money to go. You could make it a monthly budget where you list what you plan to get for the month. See it as a map for your finances and follow it to the letter.
2. Don’t Shop When You’re in Your Feelings
As you read earlier, shopping while in your feelings can lead to making impulse purchases.
Even when you’re so excited, don’t shop. If you do, you can end up buying something you won’t use just because you’re having a great day. And even when you feel sad, you might be tempted to buy so you can feel good.
So, avoid shopping whenever you’re emotional. Only shop when you are completely in control.
3. Take Only the Exact Amount You Need
If you’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, only go with the exact cash you need.
Also, don’t go with your debit card to the store. Studies show that we tend to spend less when we pay in cash. Also, according to Bankrate, people who use debit cards at fast-food restaurants spend on average 50% more than people who pay with cash.
So leave that debit card at home. If you won’t get ready to buy things you never planned to get in the first place.
4. Remember Your Important Goals
When next you feel tempted to splurge on something that just catches your fancy, remember your most important goals.
Remember the car you want to buy, the new gadget, the plot of land, etc. If you keep giving in to every temptation to buy this or that, you either prolong the achievement of your goals or never achieve them.
5. Give It Some Time
Found something that would look lovely in your wardrobe? That’s great. But don’t buy it yet. Get distracted for a couple of hours or so. There’s a high chance you won’t even remember it once two hours elapses.
But if it still lingers on your heart, add it to your budget and plan to get it.
6. Go with a Financially-Disciplined Friend
Don’t go shopping with someone who loves to buy on Impulse. Go alone, or better still, go with a friend who can always speak sense into your head.
If you don’t have anyone like that, shop alone, to avoid peer pressure.
7. Don’t Shop Often
Have special days for shopping and live by it. This is because the more you shop, the more likely you are to buy on impulse.
So, only go shopping when it’s that time of the month. If it isn’t, find something else to do.
8. Write Down Your Expenses
This helps you monitor your income and how you spend it. When you write down how you spend, you’ll quickly notice where you made an impulse purchase and make amends.
Also, writing down your expenses keeps you in check and makes you more conscious of your finances.
9. A Penny for Your Impulse
You can also get an accountability partner and give them a certain amount when you buy on impulse. This can be your parents, sibling, lover, or friend.
When you keep paying an amount for every time you buy on impulse, you’ll know better than to work on the flaw.
There you have it. As you resolve to stop impulse buying, remember Benjamin Franklin’s advice:
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
You also have to be careful of those little things that seem cheap. They are the start of a reckless financial life.