How To Stop Impulse Buying: 50 Tips To Take Control

Don't let impulse buying keep you from financial security. Learn what it is and how to beat it for good.
Woman with shopping bags as she goes impulse buying

Did you know the average U.S. consumer spends $5,400 every year on impulse purchases?

This is close to the average credit card balance of an American adult, according to CreditCards.com.

Which means, if we could all have a little more self-control, we would be out of debt a heckuva lot sooner!

But, if you’re like me, it’s one of the main reasons you have so much debt.

My impulse buying has been a *huge* contributor to living beyond my means and racking up credit card debt.  From $5 Starbucks frappuccinos to a last-minute summer vacation splurge, I’ve allowed my emotions to overrule common sense too many times.

In addition to adding to my financial mess, my impulse buying has caused feelings of regret, guilt, disappointment, discouragement, and defeat.  These are *not* helpful when trying to reach your goals!

Spending money impulsively can bust your budget, but it can also keep you from developing smart money habits in the long run. Ultimately, if you don’t learn how to stop impulse buying, you’ll never reach financial freedom.

Overcoming the habit of impulse buying and the consequences it creates takes time, self-awareness, and a little bit of helpful knowledge.  The  key is being intentional about identifying your motivation for spending.

All of us have given in to the temptation of an impulse purchase – even the most disciplined budgeters. But the more you can control your spending, the less harm this bad habit will cause to your finances.

Anyone can learn how to stop impulse buying and be more intentional with their money.  The first step is knowing how to identify this damaging habit.

Would you rather print out this list of 50 tips to stop impulse buying?  Download it for FREE!

 

 

Table of Contents

What Is (and isn’t) Impulse Buying?

Although the term indicates buying something on impulse, it goes farther than just an unplanned purchase.  An impulse buy typically has 3 characteristics:

  1. It wasn’t planned.
  2. There’s an exposure to a stimulus.
  3. The decision is made spontaneously.

An impulse purchase can range from a pack of gum to a new car, but it’s typically dependent on the stimuli a consumer is exposed to, and it’s always unplanned.

Impulse buying is actually a well-researched behavior that helps marketers understand their customers better and how they respond to various stimuli. After all, once they figure out the “switch” from casual shopper to committed buyer, they’ve hit a marketing gold mine!

An impulse purchase can range from a pack of gum to a new car, but it’s typically dependent on the stimuli a consumer is exposed to, and it’s always unplanned. Emotions play a large part in impulsive buying, and that’s why marketers carefully consider product wrapping, store placement, and display presentation to trigger feelings that lead to a purchase.

Of course, not every unplanned purchase is an impulse buy.

If you plan to go shopping for new work clothes but you’re not sure what you’ll buy, that’s not impulse buying as long as you stay within the budget you’ve already set. Even though you didn’t *plan* to buy a specific skirt and shoes, you still bought with intention of purpose and set aside enough money to purchase them. That is *not* buying on impulse.

However … if you happened to see a sweet deal on a new toaster so you swiftly added it to your cart … that would be an impulse buy.

Knowing the difference and choosing to shop intentionally will help you control your spending and reach your financial goals faster.

 

Types of Impulse Buying

There are several reasons your feelings can trick you into buying something impulsively. Some may even convince you that you’re not buying impulsively and your purchase is actually a necessary one.

Of course, we’re all familiar with the product displays at the cash register. Items like gum and candy, batteries, chapstick, and magazines are placed here strategically because marketers know you will buy them on a whim. This is a true impulse buy.

But then you might see some gift cards and think I need to get my boss a gift anyway so I’ll just grab me one of these gift cards. So even though you may feel like the purchase was initiated by a need, it is still unplanned, unnecessary, and based on your emotions.

Another type of impulse buy occurs when you see a pleasing display in the store, and you’re reminded that you should probably stock up on this item because you’re going to run out eventually anyway, right?

And then finally there’s that irresistible offer that you would be dumb to refuse, so better get it now! It might not be on sale tomorrow, so you’re saving money by buying today!

All of these scenarios were initiated by some type of stimuli (usually a pleasing visual display) that triggered a feeling and ultimately an unplanned purchase.

Learning how to stop impulse buying requires an awareness of the underlying emotions involved.  If you can identify when your feelings are trying to control the situation, you can make better decisions.

 

What Do Feelings Have To Do With It?

You can’t control what you’ll see in the store, but you *can* learn to be aware of how you’re feeling before you go in. When you can identify what you’re feeling, and how your feelings influence your spending habits, you’re halfway to winning the battle against impulsive buying.

As humans, we tend to give our emotions a little too much say in the decisions we make. And when it comes to spending money, marketers know that buying stuff feels good.

Not only that – buying something *spontaneously* actually releases the chemical dopamine in our brains, which gives us a natural high.

That’s why stores are very strategic about product placement, lighting, music, color, and sometimes even smell. All of these factors subconsciously affect how we feel, and can have a huge influence on whether or not we’re going to buy more than we planned.

Pretty tricksy, eh?

And feeling *happy* isn’t the only emotional motivator to spend more. Feeling stress and anxiety can also drive you to buy on impulse.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you want to find relief from stress. It’s *how* you get relief that can be a problem.

When we feel tense, worried, or overwhelmed, our bodies have a built-in alarm that goes off in the brain. This alarm is called the amygdala, and its purpose is to keep you safe and alert. It also drives you to seek protection or comfort. When the amygdala is sounding its alarm, we can feel compelled to seek relief in the easiest, quickest way possible.

Unfortunately, the amygdala doesn’t know the difference between a life-threatening situation and an argument with your spouse.

So, if you need a break from your partner after a spat, you might just head to Target for a little therapy. Shopping therapy, that is.

That’s your amygdala trying to find you some relief. It’s just doing its job. A little dopamine released in the brain can do wonders for your mood.

But you can also be draining your wallet if you habitually buy something just to feel better.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you want to find relief from stress. It’s *how* you get relief that can be a problem.

When our emotions are running high, we tend to make decisions based on how we feel and we often don’t think about the consequences of our actions. This causes us to neglect considering how an unplanned purchase will affect our financial future.

The goods news is you have a choice. You don’t have to be controlled by your amygdala. You can step back, get perspective, and make a choice that aligns with what you truly value.

But first, it’s important to be aware of underlying motivators that can cause you to buy something impulsively. This way, as you learn how to stop impulse buying, you can make better decisions despite what you’re feeling in the moment.

 

What Leads To Impulse Buying?

So far I’ve mentioned how emotions and external stimuli can lead to impulse buying. Another factor that influences spontaneous spending requires even greater heightened awareness: your unconscious mind.

Science has shown that 95% of our behaviors are driven by the unconscious mind, and that includes our purchasing decisions.

If you’re committed to learning how to stop impulse buying, then it’s critical you know what deep-seated thoughts are driving your actions.

So, what does this mean for the average consumer?

Basically, when you fail to tap into those unconscious thoughts that drive your impulsive buying decisions, you’re at the mercy of shrewd marketers who know how to convince you to spend money – even when you don’t really have it to spend.

If you’re committed to learning how to stop impulse buying, then it’s critical you know what deep-seated thoughts are driving your actions.

Here are 8 beliefs and behaviors that often operate below the surface of our conscious thinking and lead to an impulsive purchase:

  1. You’ll save money. When you see a killer deal on something you might need in the future, you feel irresponsible for not taking it. This is when you convince yourself that spending the money will save you money.
  2. You identify with the brand. When you have a positive emotion tied to a certain brand or product, the more likely you’ll be willing to spend money on it – planned or unplanned.
  3. Vicarious ownership. Although it can be fun to hear your friend’s experience with the latest household gadget, you’d probably rather experience it firsthand. This builds an emotional connection to the product and leads to an increased chance of impulsively buying it the next time you see it in the store.
  4. FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out can take a few different forms. A popular product that is often sold out, a positive experience your friend had, or a search for that *perfect* item are all variations of FOMO that can motivate you to buy something you otherwise wouldn’t have.
  5. You’re a hunter and gatherer. It’s human nature to collect stuff and stock up on resources for fear of running out. This behavior used to serve us well thousands of years ago, but today it usually stems from a scarcity mentality.
  6. You avoid your feelings. As mentioned earlier, part of your amygdala’s job is to seek relief in times of danger or distress. This is very helpful when you’re in a burning building, but not so much if you’re just stressed out because of your job. The better choice is to deal with your stress in a healthy way instead of trying to cover it up with a spending spree.
  7. You want to keep up with the Joneses. When neighbor Sue buys a brand new Lexus, there’s a level of comparison and competitiveness that can rear its ugly head. If you don’t tame the beast, you might end up with a car payment you can’t really afford.
  8. You have an addiction. Most people that have an addiction are the last to know about it. If you seriously struggle with overspending and impulse buying, consider the possibility that your “innocent” habit is really a full-blown addiction that you need to get help for.

 

Why Is Impulse Buying A Problem?

Even if you’ve read this far, you still might think that a little impulse buying here and there isn’t a big deal. Which, can be true. Or not.

If you are currently experiencing any of the financial problems listed here, you can confidently consider that impulse buying might be a factor:

It busts your budget.

Okay, so this one’s pretty obvious. If you’re following a spending plan, you should know how much of your money is going where so you don’t run out.

If you never learn how to stop impulse buying, it will be difficult to escape the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

When you’re in the middle of the month and you don’t have enough money left to put gas in your car, it’s possible you’re making too many unplanned purchases.

It prevents you from reaching your savings goals.

A part of your budget should be a savings fund. If your savings account has barely budged an inch (or worse – has gotten smaller), you might want to track your spending to see if you’re wasting savings on impulse purchases.

It creates more debt.

Debt is often a series of small, insignificant, unplanned purchases that pile up over time. If you looked at your credit card balances today, I bet you wouldn’t remember how it got that high.

It’s easy to buy impulsively when it doesn’t immediately cost anything. If your debt keeps creeping higher, review past statements and add up how much of it was unplanned spending.

It perpetuates a paycheck to paycheck cycle.

When you spend money impulsively, you are not in control of your finances. This can result in bad purchasing habits that damage your financial future.  If you never learn how to stop impulse buying, it will be difficult to escape the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

It contributes to a scarcity mindset.

If you struggle to make ends meet because your impulse purchases are draining your income, you can start seeing your job as a means to an end instead of a fulfilling part of your life. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and apathy.

When you believe you’ll never get out of debt or be better with money, you’ll likely continue to spend money on things you don’t need as a way to escape reality.

It causes buyer’s remorse

Who wants to feel guilt, regret, and shame? These feelings feed into limiting beliefs that keep you from ultimately achieving your financial goals. You can avoid buyer’s remorse by being intentional with your finances and spending money on things you truly value.

It creates relationship problems

When opposites attract, money can be a point of conflict. Typically one of you is trying to save and the other just wants to spend. This can cause arguments and tension in the relationship.

For the spender, this is a formula for impulse buying – which perpetuates the cycle.

It’s okay to set aside part of your budget as “fun money”. But if you make unplanned financial decisions that hinder the goals you’ve both set, then impulse buying is creating a problem.

It prevents the development of healthy money habits

If you ever want to achieve financial freedom, you’ll need to learn some healthy money habits. Budgeting, saving, investing, and delaying gratification are all excellent examples – but they require intention, discipline and planning.

Impulse buying will keep you from developing these habits, and ultimately prevent you from reaching your financial goals.

It hinders your financial success.

Who doesn’t want to be financially independent? Everyone wants to be rich, but few are willing to make the sacrifices to get there.

If you cannot control your spending habits, they will control your financial future.

 

How Do I Know *I* Have A Problem?

If you want to learn how to stop impulse buying, you must first admit there’s a problem.  This can be the first step toward positive change.

So how do you know if your impulse buying is just an occasional indulgence or an unhealthy dependency that can derail your financial future?

Admitting you have a problem can be the first step toward positive change.

Besides the negative consequences I’ve already mentioned, here are three key warning signs that impulse buying might be a serious issue in your life:

  • You typically fail to consider why you are spending money and what you’re spending it on.
  • You get a “shopper’s high” from buying new things and often experience excitement when making unplanned purchases.
  • You frequently make spending decisions spontaneously, especially when you are feeling heightened emotions.
  • You don’t consider your financial health when buying impulsively.
  • You often buy something but never use it.

If you feel like your impulse buying is out of control, here are 50 practical tips to beat the temptation and be more intentional with your money.

 

How To Stop Impulse Buying For Good

Spending more than you have on things you don’t need is a recipe for financial disaster.  Impulse buying can threaten financial stability, increase debt, and drain your savings account.

The key to beating the spending urge is self-awareness.  Becoming mindful of your actions and the reason behind them is the first step toward being in control of your money.

There are several different ways you can start resisting negative spending habits.  Learn how to stop impulse buying for good with this list of 50 strategies to choose from.  Start with one you can commit to, then continue to add more to create your own personal plan to beat impulse buying.

 

#1  Make a budget you can stick to

If you’re not on a budget, now’s the time. A budget will help you stick to spending limits and save more money. The zero-sum budget is one method you could try.

#2  Always have a game plan

Never go shopping without a plan. Write a list of exactly what you need, including each item’s price if possible. Then stick to it!

#3  Hold yourself to a waiting rule

Set a rule that requires you to put some space and time between you and the item you’re tempted to buy impulsively. Any time you want to buy something you didn’t plan for, take anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days to decide if it’s a good decision. The less impact it has on your budget, the less time you need to decide.

#4  Pay with cash

Paying for purchases in cash is a totally different experience than paying with a card. When you have to actually physically part with your money (instead of just swiping a card), you’re less likely to go through with it.

#5  Freeze your credit card

If you just can’t trust yourself, take some drastic measures and freeze your cards. This will force you to spend in cash only, and you can always unfreeze them when your spending is under control.

#6  Include spontaneous spending in your budget

Splurging occasionally isn’t being irresponsible – as long as it’s already in your spending plan. Include a little fun money in your budget and give yourself permission to splurge every now and then.  Learning how to stop impulse buying doesn’t mean you can never spend spontaneously.  It just means you need to be strategic about it.

#7  Avoid tempting places

Do you *have* to go to Target for bread? If it’s too tempting to wander to the women’s clothing department, maybe go to a grocery store instead.

#8  Block online shopping opportunities

Shopping online is sooooo convenient. With just a few clicks it’s easy to spend more than you planned. Do yourself a favor and block the sites you shop at the most. At least until you get your impulsive spending habit under control.

Learning how to stop impulse buying doesn’t mean you can never spend spontaneously.  It just means you need to be strategic about it.

#9  Drop the lists

Whenever I get asked for my email address I just say I don’t give it out. It’s too easy to spend money impulsively when I get an email from one of my favorite stores, tempting me with their latest sale!

#10  Choose free ways to celebrate

Keep a list of free or low-cost ways to celebrate a special achievement. Often it’s easy to convince ourselves that we “deserve” something extra because of our accomplishment. It’s okay to reward yourself, just be smart about it.

#11  Always do your research

Don’t let a killer deal on a big screen TV be the only reason you hand over your hard-earned money. Always do a little research first to make sure you’re getting all the features you really want. Then, go prepared with a list of questions to ask the salesperson. The more research you do, the more certain you’ll be that it’s a wise purchase.

#12  Know the return policy

The clearance section is one of my favorite places to browse, but sometimes that slashed price also comes with a no-return policy. Find out the store’s policy for clearance items before you check out. If you can’t return it, don’t buy it. If you do buy something impulsively because the price was too great to pass up, you always want the option to return it later if you choose.

#13  Define needs versus wants

Get real with yourself about the difference between wants and needs. You might feel like you “need” a new car because your current one is looking a little ragged, but the reality is that nobody *needs* a new vehicle.

Consider all of your options first (keeping the current car, buying a used car, taking public transportation) and then create a priority list of all the things you’d like to buy in the future. Choose the top 2 or 3 and set a goal date to purchase each one.

Having these things on your priority list is a good reminder that because they aren’t true needs, you have time to save up to pay cash instead of going into debt for them.

#14  Know what triggers you

If you’re serious about breaking your impulse buying habit, it’s important to know what your triggers are. When you’re aware of the circumstances that give you the urge to spend money, you can avoid them when necessary.

Maybe you’re tempted by TV commercials, Facebook ads, or the latest Target catalog. Or perhaps the urges are the strongest when you feel sad, bored, stressed, or angry. Once you identify what pushes you over the edge, seek out healthier alternatives.

#15  Don’t be swayed by sales

My husband has a difficult time resisting a good sale. And who can blame him? When you see a bargain on something you’re probably going to buy eventually anyway, you can get the feeling that you’re going to waste money later if you don’t spend it now.

This is a tricksy & false belief that can easily pull you into excessive debt and keep you from achieving your goals. Get in touch with what you truly value, and have a plan for buying those things that add that value to your life. Don’t be manipulated by a sale sign. Remember, you’re in control.

#16  Invite your frugal friend

Do you have a penny-pinching friend? Bring them with you when you need to go shopping for something. Ask them to hold you accountable to every penny you spend!

#17  And leave your shopping sisters behind

The flip side of #16 is avoiding shopping sprees with your friends. When your besties are spending money on whatever looks good, you’ll have a tough time beating the temptation to do the same.

#18  Stop keeping up with the Joneses

Be aware of the comparison trap. When you feel like you don’t measure up to neighbor Sue, it’s easy to think you need to buy things you don’t really need in order to keep up. I have two words for you: you don’t.

When you feel tempted to spend impulsively, break out your list of goals for some serious inspiration to walk away instead.

#19  Limit social media

You used to have to look out your window to feel a little jealousy over your neighbor’s new car. Now, you can go online and see the one your friend 6 states over just bought. There’s an easy fix for that: stay off social media. If you can’t give it up entirely, limit how much time you spend on it daily.

#20  Give yourself a challenge

Ever wonder how much you could actually save if you just stopped buying unnecessary stuff? Find out by going on a no-spend challenge! Try not buying anything you don’t absolutely need for 30 days, and see how much money you could be putting in your retirement fund instead.

#21  Know your why

Learning how to stop impulse buying means getting in touch with what you truly value.  What are your financial goals? Do you want to get out of debt and save up for a comfortable retirement?

Write your goals down and carry them everywhere with you (on paper or in a phone app). When you feel tempted to spend impulsively, break out the list for some serious inspiration to walk away instead.

#22  Check your feelings at the door

Before you back out of that garage, have a mental check-in with yourself. If you’re feeling a heightened emotion (like stress, anxiety, frustration), then you might want to stay home until you know for sure your emotions aren’t controlling your decisions.

#23  Beware of boredom shopping

If you’re only at your favorite store because you’re bored, it’s time to figure out cheaper ways to be entertained. Finding a good book at the library or taking a hike at a local park are two free ways to spend your time without the temptation to spend money.

#24  Learn from others’ experiences

It’s easy to be convinced that a new kitchen gadget on Amazon would be the perfect tool to kick your cooking skills up a notch or two. That is, until you read the reviews that complain about the low quality or poor design. Learn from other people’s bad experiences and keep your money in your pocket.

#25  Hang on to every receipt

Even if you have a shopping fail and give in to spending more than you planned, there’s no reason you can’t back track and make a better choice. Always keep your receipts so you can return purchases you regret buying later. No harm done!

#26  Never shop on an empty stomach

For me, an impulse buy is often edible. And if I go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, I usually end up buying more than what’s on my list. Because of this, I make sure I eat something before going to a store full of food. It makes all the difference.

#27  Plan your meals

Another way to cut unnecessary spending when grocery shopping is to create a meal plan. Knowing what you’re going to eat and when, as well as what ingredients you need to buy, will do wonders for your food budget. You’ll also not be tempted to spontaneously go out to eat as often, which keeps even more money in your pocket.

#28  Take a deep breath

Impulse buying is typically done on an unconscious level. As you get better at realizing you have a choice not to spend, taking deep breaths can help create a diversion and help you be fully present in the moment. Deep breathing will also help you slow down and get your feelings in check before making a decision you’ll regret later.

#29  Track the temptations

Build awareness of your shopping habits by tracking how often you’re tempted to make an impulse buy. Keep a small calendar in your purse and make a note on every date you feel the urge to spend. This will help you become more conscious of what it feels like to be tempted and help you recognize the warning signs so you can make a better choice.

#30  Know what it’s truly costing you

Too often we ignore the true cost of an impulse buy. When you think of the money you’re spending in terms of an hourly wage, you might decide you don’t really want to buy something that will eat up 5 hours of your next paycheck.

Likewise, consider the opportunity cost of that unplanned purchase by reflecting on what you’ll need to give up in order to buy it. If you haven’t been able to save the money to go on that cruise you’ve been dreaming of, that’s a pretty high opportunity cost just to buy stuff you probably don’t need.

#31  Ask questions

Keep a list of “shopping” questions with you whenever you go shopping. Before you put that item in your cart, pull it out and answer each one. Some questions could be Does this purchase align with my values? Does this purchase fit into my financial goals? Is this purchase necessary? Will this purchase add true value to my life? A little reflection can be a very effective strategy to putting it back on the shelf.

#32  Reflect on your failures

Okay, so you spent money on something you didn’t plan for. Before you chalk it up to a bad day and moving on, take some time to reflect on how it made you feel. Did you experience a shopper’s high? Did it relieve stress at the time? How long did it last? Did you have buyer’s remorse? Did you feel like you failed? Take note of the emotional experience and let it help you decide if the money spent was really worth it.

Consider the opportunity cost of that unplanned purchase by reflecting on what you’ll need to give up in order to buy it.

#33  Dig a little deeper

Because impulse buying is often done at an unconscious level, it can require a heightened awareness to identify the true reason someone does it. Typically, it has little to do with physical needs and more about trying to fill an emotional one.

If you struggle with controlling your spending urges, challenge yourself to figure out why you are driven to spend impulsively. Once you’ve determined the real “why” behind your spending, look for healthier (and less expensive) ways to find fulfillment.

#34  Take an inventory

Check your cabinets and closets and know what you already have. There have been many times I bought something unplanned because I saw something on the shelf that I thought I needed more of. If I had just checked before spending, I would have known that I still had 2 tubes of toothpaste at the bottom of my vanity drawer.

#35  Make a compromise

Sometimes temptation is just too hard to resist. If you find yourself on the verge of committing to a cartful of stuff you didn’t plan on buying, take a few deep breaths as you do a quick mental calculation of how much it’s going to cost you.

Then, grab one small, inexpensive item from the cart and go straight to the register. In times when walking out without spending anything is too difficult, you can minimize the financial damage by making a compromise with yourself.

#36  Remember your last regret

Remembering those things you regret from your past can be a very effective way to make better choices in the future. When you’re on the fence about making an unplanned purchase, think about the last time you regretted an impulse buy. That may be all you need to put it back on the shelf.

#37  Consider layaway

When you’re really torn between making an impulse purchase and walking away, ask the store if they have a layaway plan. You’ll likely have to meet certain requirements (minimum down payment, cancellation fee), but it will give you the ability to take advantage of a good deal while also providing time and space to continue thinking about it.

#38  Chart your progress

Create a chart to track your financial goals, and place it somewhere you’ll see every day. Looking at your progress on a daily basis is one of the best ways to stay on track with your money and keep your spending aligned with what you truly value.

#39  Don’t drink and shop

Do I need to say more?

#40  Create a more meaningful option for your money

Take a quick review of your impulse buys over the past few months. Add up a rough estimate of the total cost, and compare that to a financial goal you’ve been wanting to reach.

Comparing the cost of your spontaneous shopping to a credit card balance you’ve meant to pay off can motivate you to curb your spending. Every time you’re tempted to make a spending decision on-the-spot, take note of the item’s price and put that amount toward your goal instead.

#41  Give to your favorite charities

One way to break the habit of spending on yourself is to give to your favorite charities instead. Find some organizations that line up with your values and start donating a percentage of your monthly budget.

Every time you want to carelessly drop a few bucks at Starbucks, think about how much more meaning that money could have if redirected to a favorite charity.

#42  Be more generous with loved ones

In addition to charities, consider increasing your generosity to families and friends. Think about how you can bless others with the income you’ve been blessed with. When we focus on others’ needs, it’s easier to deny ourselves the indulgence of impulse purchases.

#43  Choose meaningful memories over meaningless stuff

If you struggle with impulse buying, you likely have more stuff than you actually use. Refocus your priorities on building relationships through shared experiences, and create a savings account to fund them. Then, think about the memories you’ll make the next time you’re tempted to buy yet another pair of shoes.

Every time you want to carelessly drop a few bucks at Starbucks, think about how much more meaning that money could have if redirected to a favorite charity.

#44  Develop a substitute habit

Once we engage in behavior unconsciously, it’s a habit. One of the best ways to break a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one.

Choose a substitute for impulse shopping that supports your financial goals, and start replacing your visits to the store with this other activity. After a few weeks of consistently making a different choice, your brain will find it easier to choose the new habit when you feel triggered.

#45  Put up some barriers

If you create inconvenient barriers to engaging in a habit, it’s easier to break.

For example, if you leave your credit cards at home, there’s a better chance you’ll pass by the sales rack because you don’t have a way to pay for it. Or if you unsubscribe from Amazon Prime, you might not want to pay shipping and wait an extra week to receive your purchase. Deleting any app that allows you to shop is also a way to create “friction” between you and an impulse buy.

#46  Write down what you’re spending

Another way to create awareness around your impulse buying habits is by keeping a spending journal. Much like a food journal, you would use it to log every transaction you make on discretionary purchases.

Although you would also track these expenses in a budget, the purpose of the spending journal is to become more conscious of how much and how often you spend more than you planned. You can also write down the circumstances surrounding each purchase and what you were thinking & feeling at the time.

#47  Choose your company wisely

Someone once said that we each are an average of the 5 people we hang out with the most. Do you want to be a saver and not a spender? Start hanging out with other savers. Not only will their good habits rub off on you, they’ll also be a great source of support, encouragement and sound advice.

#48  Go easy on yourself

A little guilt over an irresponsible purchase can influence you to make a better choice the next time you’re shopping. However, money shaming yourself for making a mistake isn’t helpful moving forward. Return the item if that’s a good option. Otherwise, recommit to your financial values and goals and try better next time.

#49  Develop an attitude of gratitude

Too often we forget how much we truly have to be grateful for. By keeping a gratitude journal, you can remind yourself of how much you’ve been blessed and create a genuine sense of contentment in your life. When we’re content with what we have, we don’t feel the need to fill our lives with stuff we don’t need.

#50  Reach out for support

Most people’s impulse buying habit is just that: a habit. One that’s hindering their financial goals and maybe creating unwanted debt, but a habit nonetheless.

For others, impulse buying has become compulsive and turned into an addiction. If you’re feeling hopeless and overwhelmed about your financial situation, I encourage you to get help. A licensed therapist or financial advisor can give you professional advice and direction that might be necessary in your situation.

Print out the full list of 50 tips to stop impulse buying here:

 

Money Can’t Buy Joy

Different people have different motivations for buying impulsively.

For some, it’s FOMO – either with experiences friends are having or just finding the perfect item.

Then there’s the possibility of getting a killer deal – whether it’s needed or not.

For others, there could be a serious shopping addiction, and there is a constant chase for the next “high”.

For me, I would say the majority of my impulsive shopping came out of a YOLO mentality – You Only Live Once!

Regrettably, I’ve spent much of my life in debt because of bad financial decisions like impulse shopping.

And, not to say I don’t still occasionally fall into temptation, but I have gotten a lot better at resisting.  Learning how to stop impulse buying in my own life has been a long and windy road.  But, along the way, I’ve learned a few things that have made me wiser.

I’ve learned that a seemingly insignificant but stupid decision today can have consequences that last for years.  I think about the consequences now, because I’ve lived them.

I’ve also learned that money can buy me happiness, but it can’t give me joy.  Happiness has many degrees, is fleeting and unpredictable.  But joy runs deep, through the soul, from heaven above.

Yes, I’ll feel happy when I buy that cute new purse, but then that happiness will dull over time as my new purse becomes my old one.  Joy, on the other hand, is not dependent on material possessions and can’t be taken away by any earthly experience.

In other words, joy is priceless.

And then I’ve learned that gratefulness is the remedy.  Having an attitude of gratitude can turn any fear of missing out into peaceful contentment.

Usually, when someone wants to indulge in some excessive spending, it’s motivated by an unfulfilled craving in life – a desire to be happier, or prettier, or smarter, or whatever.

But, if you take a moment to step back and remember how much you have to be truly grateful for, those desires give way to contentment.

Which is the last life lesson I’ll mention here.  Learning to be content will cure your spending habit like nothing else.  

When I am content with what I have, where I live, what I drive, what I wear, and everything else in my life – I am no longer driven by my desires to have more.

Instead, my heart is at peace, I can keep things in perspective, and I can make wiser decisions.

And these are things money can’t buy – impulsively or not.

 

Want to remember How To Stop Impulse Buying for later?  Post this article to your favorite Pinterest board!

Woman with shopping bags and text overlay: 50 tips to stop impulse buying

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