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14 Tips to Stop Impulse Buying and Save Money

Instead of caving, use these 14 tips and tricks to resist bad spending habits so you can save more money.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
Episode #528
14 Tips to Stop Impulse Buying and Save Money

4. Don’t buy anything that can’t be returned.

Sometimes the most tempting purchases are the ones you can’t return. Like a super low final clearance price online that you think is too good to pass up. Sometimes there’s a reason a marked-down item hasn’t sold well, like not fitting well or being different from the picture.

We’ve all experienced how terrible it is to regret buying something you can’t return. At least buying something you regret that you can return allows you to undo the damage once you come to your senses.

See also: How to Get Out of Debt Fast

5. Reevaluate what you already own.

Sometimes paring down is the key to figuring out what you really use so you can find more satisfaction in those items instead of accumulating more.

If you’re a compulsive shopper, you probably have a lot of stuff, such as a closet full of clothes or a garage full of gadgets. So, instead of buying the next item that you probably don’t need, reevaluate what you already have.

Sometimes paring down is the key to figuring out what you really use so you can find more satisfaction in those items instead of accumulating more. I’m a big believer in buying fewer, better quality things.

Another strategy is to organize your belongings in better ways so it’s easy to see what you have. I really enjoyed arranging my closet and kitchen using the method made famous by Marie Kondo. Her techniques and mindset for approaching clutter have become a global phenomenon.

Check out her best-selling books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

6. Plan your splurges.

If you’re exceptionally prone to impulse purchases, trying to eliminate them altogether may be pointless. Instead, give yourself permission to make smaller purchases on a regular basis.

If you plan for one new inexpensive item a month, or a relatively expensive treat once a quarter, that can keep you from random binge buying. Setting aside a small amount of your budget as an impulse fund can give you a manageable and responsible outlet for spontaneous purchases.

7. Give yourself a no-spending challenge.

Set up a personal challenge that cuts impulse spending over a set amount of time. For instance, you might:

  • Only buy essentials (such as groceries, housing, utilities, and insurance) for an entire month. 
  • Cook at home every day for a month instead of eating out. 
  • Not buy any new clothes for 60 days. 
  • Wait at least 24 hours before buying anything more expensive than a certain dollar amount.

Turning no-spend days into a game can make them easier to sustain and help you clearly identify spending triggers, such as surfing the web for clothes or dining out too frequently. If cutting all frivolous spending is too intense, identify specific categories that cause you trouble, such as shoes or expensive cocktails, and cut them out during a period.

Turning no-spend days into a game can make them easier to sustain and help you clearly identify spending triggers, such as surfing the web for clothes or dining out too frequently.

Also put reminders of your challenge in strategic places, like a sticky note in your wallet or on your credit cards. If you slip up, just resume the challenge right away. You might even impose a good-cause penalty, such as matching any slip-ups as donations to your favorite charity.

8. Unsubscribe from retail newsletters.

The next time you see a retail newsletter in your email inbox with a tempting promotion or sale, look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom and break the cycle. Something you just happen to see on sale that you don’t really need doesn’t save money—it just hurts your financial life.

What’s out of sight will be out of mind. That’s one less way to spend money compulsively.

See also: Avoid 7 Spending Mistakes and Save More Money

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