Impulse buys…those dreaded few extra items that make their way into your shopping cart. Even the best list makers and most disciplined spenders out there will cave to an impulse buy every now of then. A pack of gum at the checkout counter every now and then probably won’t impact your budget too severely, but if you find you’re grabbing a magazine once a week, new items for the house you don’t really need, unnecessary clothes and accessories, and little toys or treats for the kids who already have more than they could ever want…it’s time to get the impulse buy habit in check. Here are a few strategies for controlling the urge for necessary purchases:
- Think about who you shop with.
Leave the people who lead you to buy things you don’t need at home. Maybe it’s your friend who sweetly insists everything looks great on you and that you deserve something new – she’s got great intentions but is not helping your budget! Have her over for coffee instead.Children are common culprits, your guard is down as you’re trying to find everything on your list and keep track of the little ones, and it’s easy to give in to that box of cookies or small toy to keep everyone moving along. Try to find a time when you can shop without them – my mother did the grocery shopping at 10:00 pm for years when my brother and I were young.If you’re most likely to splurge when shopping alone bring along a voice of reason who will gently remind you that you didn’t want to buy any extras. Just their presence might keep you from wandering into the sunglasses aisle when you’re at the store for light bulbs.
- Picture where in your home the item will go.
Possessions don’t just cost money to purchase, they take up your space, time, and yes, money to hold on to. We need places to store our things whether this means larger homes than we really need, or even costly storage units. The more stuff we have the most time must be devoted to cleaning and organizing.If considering a new set of glassware think about your cabinets. Where would the new glasses go? What would you need to get rid of to make room for them? When thinking of buying a new dress picture your closet – is there room for more clothes?
- Shop with cash.
Bring just enough cash to the store for the items on your list. If you see something else tempting you’ll either have to not get something on your list, in which case at least you’re not spending more than you planned, or come back later to purchase it. With most impulse buys if you think about it long enough and have to make an extra effort to get it, such as a second trip to the store, you’ll end up passing.