Stop Impulse Buying
Impulse buying is something I have struggled with for years. Currently, there are several things I want to buy. But, I don’t really need any of it so I’m resisting. I was inspired to write this post in case any of you out there are like me.
Hi, my name is Loreina, and I’m a shopaholic.
A shopaholic is someone addicted to shopping. I love the thrill of shopping. It makes me happy. I went through a phase in my early 20’s where I wanted everything brand new. I had credit cards. I was skinnier so I wanted tons of clothes. I wanted stuff for my kids. I wanted it all!
I got a little better as I got older, and I realized I had to stop. I had racked up debt that I had a hard time getting out of. I had stuff that we didn’t need. It was literally just stuff. Then, I discovered couponing. What better hobby for a reformed Shopaholic than to coupon, right? Wrong.
Between couponing and discovering my love for all things vintage, I developed another habit that left me a feeling like I was two shopping trips away from being on an episode of Hoarders. I still have set-backs at times, but in order to keep my house in order and my finances, I have to think through my purchases.
Impulse buying is buying something on a whim. Impulse buying is purchasing an item without planning to purchase it. That means you haven’t researched price, read reviews or really considered if you can even afford the purchase.
I’m guilty. I have literally had to train myself to step back and ask myself several questions before making a purchase. We’ll get into that later in the article. For now, let’s talking about reasons people impulse buy.
- Some people love the excitement of getting something new. It makes them happy. After my last serious relationship ended, I bought an SUV. That was a major impulse buy. I did feel good at first, but it didn’t feel so good paying off a $30,000 loan over the next 5 years.
- We think a new purchase will change our lives when we know it’s not. I bought a treadmill once. Luckily it was used. It held my clothes for years before I finally got rid of it. That was an impulse buy.
- We justify that we can save money with a purchase. When I was working part-time as a VA while still at my full-time job, I bought a laptop so I could take it to my full-time job and work on my lunch break. Hardly worth it. While I carried my laptop in and out every day, I never worked on my hour break. I NEEDED that break.
- We might be scared we’re going to miss a deal. I was at a bridal extravaganza with my best friend years ago, and there was a magical curling wand being demonstrated. Perfect curls every time. It was normally $200 for the curling wand and this special macadamia nut shampoo and conditioner. If I bought right then, I’d get it all for $100. Well how could I resist? When I got home, I discovered it’s beyond my comprehension to use a curling wand. I need an old school curling iron with the clip. My kids took off with it, and it hasn’t been seen since.
- We think we’re getting a good deal, but we really aren’t. This just happened to me last month at GNC. I bought a canister of collagen powder for $15. I thought it was their brand. I checked online right before that canister ran out just to see the exact same brand/size canister is being sold on Amazon for $10.
How to break the habit
The first thing you have to do is recognize there’s a problem. It hit me in my late 20’s. It was a hard realization to face. And I have relapsed. I just get back on the wagon and keep moving forward whenever I fall. I really have to be mindful of what I’m doing, and I always ask myself the following questions before making a purchase.
Do I really need this?
As a rule, when I really want to buy something, I make myself wait. I will make myself wait a few days if it’s something that I do determine that I really need. However, if it’s something that I don’t really need, I will keep putting off the purchase. I tell myself it’ll be a splurge when I have the extra money. But, then I never have the extra money so I just keep thinking about it. Right now, I want an air fryer and an instapot. I have been going back and forth with myself for months now about these two items. They’re just not a necessity so I can’t justify spending the money on either of those items right now.
Is this cheaper anywhere else?
I also try to research prices before I make a purchase. If I’m in a store, I will normally google whatever I’m considering purchasing just to see if it is cheaper somewhere else. Researching from home, while you’re online is much easier. I usually compare everything to Amazon. For example, before I signed up for Grove Collaborative, I checked their prices with Amazon prices. Then I learned as VIP member, I could price-match if I found items cheaper at Amazon so for me, that was a win.
Does this product have good reviews?
Reading reviews is a great way to determine if something really will work. While I sometimes get annoyed with targeted ads showing up in my newsfeed on Facebook, I like reading the reviews in the comments. People keep it real on the Facebook comments, and as a consumer, I do trust those reviews. I considered purchasing a Pony-O ponytail holder for weeks. I was getting hit hard with their targeted ads, and the comments were all positive. Their ad game is strong. I purchased, and I too am a happy customer. I have my Pony-O in my hair right now!
Is this going to take up unnecessary space in my house?
Considering if it’s going to take up unnecessary space in my house is huge for me so I don’t end up buried alive under all of my junk. Recently, I have been purchasing items from estate sales. My intent was to scoop up items at dirt cheap prices and turn around and sell on eBay. I’ve sold two items in the last three months, and the rest keep relisting over and over. I had a friend suggest to me that I stop purchasing more items until I get rid of some of the excess I have now. What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Ahem, because my judgement is clouded. Anyway, I’m avoiding online auctions and estate sales in the area until I get rid of some of the crap I’ve accumulated.
You can do it
If you’re trying to get ahold of your out of control finances, stopping impulse buying is an excellent start. Start being more mindful of what you’re purchasing. When you get that urge to purchase something, step back and ask yourself the same questions I ask myself to determine if it’s really something you should be buying right now.
When you really start thinking about what you’re doing, you’ll notice your entire thought process and justification for purchasing is starting to shift. Funny how that works. Let me know what you do to control your impulse buying in the comments.