You might give in every now and then to impulse buying, and that's okay. Impulse buying becomes a bad habit when you are constantly broke from your spending habits and/or what you've bought goes to waste. Let's say you're an impulse buyer when you see a bargain. Your house is so full of $1 trinkets and $5 junk that you have no storage space and the place always looks messy. Remember, just because it's on sale, doesn't mean you actually need it.
If you've given into impulse buying, there is a way you can make up for it. Sell something that you never use. Make sure the item you're selling can be sold for an amount close to what your impulse buy cost. So if you bought a $10 sweater on impulse, sell that pair of $30 shoes you never wear. If you can get more than $10 for the shoes that's great, but if not, at least try to sell them for an amount close to what the impulse buy costs.
We all give in to our temptations every now and then. What's important is that you recognize the problem and are learning how you can control it.
Impulse buying is the leading cause of death for your bank account and, if you have a credit card, your debt, too. The easiest thing would be for me to say that you should tell yourself over and over "don't buy it" and to "stick to your guns!" But for those of us who are impulse shoppers, we know that we lack a certain element of self discipline in this area and those strategies simply won't work. There are, however, 10 ways that you can stop impulse buying.
- Carry cash. If you can actually see the money disappearing right before your eyes, it will help you limit impulse buying.
- Leave credit card(s) at home. We all say that we're "only using our credit cards for emergencies" but if it's in our wallet while we're out, we just might be tempted to use it. There's no harm in leaving it at home. Put it in a safe place and believe that today, there won't be any emergencies.
- Develop a financial plan. You need to get your finances in check when you decide it's time to quit impulse buying. It's always best to have a blueprint of where your money is going, and this will definitely help you.
- Stay away from toxic friends. If you have a friend who encourages spending--late night drinks, last minute shopping trips, etc.--it's best to find other ways to hang out with them instead. Suggest having movie night and pedicures at home.
- Avoid shopping with rich friends. I am completely envious of those girls who never have to work for anything. You know the type--they had that unpaid fashion internship at Vogue, lived on Park Avenue, and bought Louis Vuitton bags without ever having to work. Don't shop with those friends, unless they'rebuying! When you want to hang out, suggest ideas that require little to no money.
- Check your mood. If you're having a bad day, don't shop to cheer yourself up. Call a friend (or your mom) and vent about it. Take a walk (not at the mall or Fifth Avenue or even in that general direction) or take a bubble bath to cheer up.
- Plan shopping trips ahead. Make a list of what you need and take it with you. When you're out shopping, challenge yourself to only buy what's on the list. This tip is difficult and requires self-discipline.
- Don't put yourself in a compromising position. Keep yourself away from your favorite shops or restaurants when you're feeling down. You might experience a quick high from your latest find, but when the feeling wears off, you'll still be upset and you'll have the added financial burden. This includes surfing the Web for online stores.
- Write down your goals. Write down your goals on a sheet of paper and put it in your wallet. When you're out shopping, if you have the urge to buy, take out that sheet of paper and ask yourself whether that purchase will help you meet your goals or not.
- Unsubscribe from mailing lists. You might not know when Topshop has a sale or when H&M opens up a store in your town, but that's probably a good thing. And get rid of mail-in catalogs that encourage you to purchase.
I am terribly guilty of impulse shopping! If I'm out shopping and have the cash to spend (or enough money left on my credit card), I will buy something. Especially if I have somewhere to go for the night. The result: I have several things in my closet that I've only worn once. This includes two $300 dresses (I know, I shouldn't have!) and several other fancy (but reasonably priced) dresses all from special dates or from evenings out at fancy nightclubs. And to be completely open with you, dear readers, it was all because I wanted to be the "belle of the ball".
It all stemmed from my own insecurities, and now as a mature young adult, I now realize the minuteness of it all. But those impulse buys made me feel good about myself, and that's where impulse buying gets us into trouble. It's all about the immediate pleasure we receive.
Impulse buying doesn't have to consist of buying just clothing either. Take a look at what I previously posted on the 13 Common Impulse Buys.
Later this week, I will offer you more information about this wallet drenching habit. We'll start with something simple--let's discover the reason why you buy on impulse.
What triggers your impulse buying?