Is Impulse Buying Hurting Your Budget?

One of the biggest enemies of a successful budget is the lure of impulse shopping. We’ve all been there — buying something we didn’t plan on initially, buying more of something than we planned, being talked into buying something, and more. Here are a few simple rules to help overcome the temptation!

 

  • Have a Plan and Stick To It – This is the part that requires the most discipline, but whether it’s food shopping or clothes shopping, if you think about what you want to budget for and can afford in advance and stick to that plan, you won’t go home feeling guilty. If you don’t have a plan at all, you may not feel guilty later either! But you may have spent much more than you should have because you didn’t plan, and come the end of the month, you may have much less in your budget than you could have because you didn’t set up a plan and stick to it in advance.

 

  • Don’t Go With the Flow – Another impulse buy that hurts wallets is paying for things at peak times — when everyone else is! Go to the movies in the afternoon is cheaper than in the evening. Eating dinner early or during a weeknight is often much cheaper than a Saturday night. By planning your social outings in advance rather than on a whim, you could enjoy the same experiences (or better, if you hate crowds) and spend less money.

 

  • You Are the Company You Keep – This is a tough one to manage if you have close friends you like to shop with, but people tend to follow the same behaviours of those around them. When you were younger, you probably got in more trouble if you hung out with the wrong crowd. The same holds for shopping. People tend to spend more money and do more impulse buys when the people they are with are doing the same. Think about ways to keep your close friends in your life without having to shop with them if they are big spenders.

 

  • Sales Often Aren’t Good For You – The reason companies have sales is to either clear out old inventory that didn’t sell already or to get you to impulse shop. Often times, people are lured into a store by the sale signs or they buy things they don’t even use in the future because it was on sale. If you avoid sales altogether, you may well find yourself spending less money than looking for sales.  It may sound strange, but give it a try and you might find you’re better off!

About 

Darwin is an engineer and MBA who takes an "evolutionary" approach to finance, writing about adapting to evolving financial management, tax, investing, and savings opportunities. Making more money and saving more money is an adaptive process - join the evolution! He blogs at Darwin's Money and ETF Base.
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