Impulsive buying habits can be difficult problem to overcome. After all, habits can be hard to break. It is something that you are used to doing. Often times, you automatically do it without thinking about every step. That is how much you got used to the behavior. That is how it becomes a habit.
The thing is, being an impulsive buyer is one of the bad spending habits that can ruin your finances. If you cannot control your spending, it might lead you to accumulate so much debt. That debt can seriously compromise your financial future.
According to the survey done by Gallup.com, the daily spending of Americans in August went down to $91 – which used to be $100 in July. it is still relatively high compared to the spending last year – which was $89.
While it is true that we cannot avoid not spending, it is important for you to keep it curbed. Too much spending will not only compromise your financial future, it can also affect your family.
10 ways you can stop your impulsive spending habits
Since impulsive buying habits can be difficult to change, you need to be consistent about your activities. You cannot change now and then go back to your habits the next week. It has to be a continuous and consistent effort on your part.
Fortunately, the different ways that you can curb your spending are simple. Here are 10 of the different ways you can try to change your spending habits.
- Always shop with a list. Start by shopping with a list. Before you leave for your shopping errand, make sure that you sit down and write a list of the things that you need to spend on. Make sure you strictly follow this list. Anything that is not on it should not be bought.
- Use cash as your payment tool. Another effective way to curb impulsive spending habits is to use cash as payment. According to the study from CreditCards.com, only 9% of their respondents use cash. 43% use debit cards while 35% use credit cards. While using a debit card is the same as using cash, some people feel the pain of spending when they use cash. It is more difficult to spend if you know you will be paying with cash. So if you are trying to limit your spending, then this is the payment tool that you need to use.
- Wait before you buy. Some people say that when the product is in front of you, the compulsion to spend is high. But if you turn away, it urge is lessened. If you find something that you want to buy but it is not in the list, wait before you make the purchase. Ideally, you should go home and wait it out. In case this is something that you are sure cannot wait until the next shopping date, you should at least go to another part of the store to take care of other errands. If the compulsion to buy is still strong, then go back and buy it. If the urge is lessened then wait until you get home to confirm if you really need that purchase. Make sure you include it in your next list.
- Convert the amount into your time at work. A great technique to spend less is to convert the amount of the purchase on the hours that you need to work in order to pay for it. For instance, if you earn $15 an hour, a $150 purchase would mean working 10 hours to get that product or service. If you think the expense is worth 10 hours, then go ahead and buy it.
- Do not shop when on an emotional high. Sometimes, when we are feeling exaggerated emotions, we make illogical decisions. This is true whether it is positive or negative. So do not use retail therapy if you are feeling low and do not use it to celebrate. You will overspend. In case you want to use it to celebrate or it really relaxes you, make sure you set a strict limit and that you will adhere to it. If you know that you cannot commit to the limit, then do not shop when you are at an emotional high.
- Have planned shopping sprees. In case shopping makes you calm, you can always schedule it – and place a budget on it. Train yourself to not go beyond it. If you do it repeatedly, the self-control and discipline will help you overcome your impulsive buying habits.
- Practice the rule: one in and one out. There is a great rule that will keep you from accumulating junk. If you have to buy something new, you have to be prepared to get rid of something. If you cannot think of anything to get rid of, do not buy anything new.
- Shop with someone / or alone. This actually depends on your personality. If you can control your spending if you are alone, then do not bring your kids with you. If you cannot control yourself when you shop alone, then take someone who can tell you to stop – and this should be someone you respect enough to listen to.
- Use a budget. This is the best way to help you control your spending so you stay out of debt. A budget will give you an idea about the amount of money that you can afford to spend. If you have a complete understanding of your financial situation, that should be enough to stop you from making unnecessary purchases.
- Ask for help. Finally, if you think that you cannot change your impulsive buying habits, then ask for help. It does not have to be a professional if you do not want to spend. It can be a loved one – someone you trust and respect. Having someone to support you in changing your bad habits is a great way to successfully overcome your spending addiction.
How to help a loved one with impulsive shopping tendencies
In case the problem is not with you but with someone you love, then you need to know what to do in order to support them. For instance, if you are engaged to someone with debt troubles because of their spending habits, you want to address that before you tie the knot. This might be a cause of conflict in the future.
Here are some tips that you can follow.
- Understand the problem. Impulsive buying habits can also be a serious problem that is similar to battling with addiction. If you really want to help, you need to understand what causes it. Do not be quick to judge. There are reasons why a person ended up with certain habits.
- Be physically present. It is also important to be physically present to support them. If they have to go out and shop, make sure you spend time with them to guide them in making the right choices about their expenses. If they want to talk, be there to listen.
- Talk about your finances often. It also helps to talk about your finances often – at least, if you are married to the person with a spending problem. According to an article published in FocusOnTheFamily.com, low self-esteem and lack of financial status lead to impulsive spending. You need to talk about the state of your finances so you both know your spending limits and if there are any financial goals that you need to prioritize over an expense.
- Be understanding, but firm. Trust that there will be lapses. When it happens, you have to be patient and understanding. You want your loved one to continue talking to you about their financial struggles. If you are not understanding, they might withdraw from your support. While you have to be understanding, you should also be firm. Let them know if they are wrong and be present to help them avoid the same mistake.
The road to battle any addiction, including impulsive buying habits can be tough. But with a bit of help and patience, you should be able to overcome this bad spending habit.
Common questions about impulsive buying
Question: What is impulsive buying?
Answer: This is buying more than what you can afford. Most of the time, the purchase is not really something important. There are people who buy just because it is trending or someone they know bought the same thing.
Question: Why is impulsive buying dangerous?
Answer: This is dangerous because it usually ends up in debt. If you cannot control your spending, it is most likely that you will go beyond your budget – which often times lead you to use too much credit.
Question: Why does impulsive buying happen?
Answer: There are many reasons why it happens. Sometimes, people use it as retail therapy. The happiness they feel after a purchase makes them addicted to it. There are times when it is something that fills a person’s insecurities. Each case is unique so make sure you understand the cause so you can treat it properly.
Question: How do I stop impulsive buying?
Answer: This is actually like battling with addiction. You can only stop impulsive buying if you understand your financial situation. There are also times when it is effective to think about financial goals to help you battle this habit.
Question: How does my impulsive buying habits affect my life?
Answer: The negative impact of impulsive buying habits stem from the accumulation of debt. Once you have too much credit balance, you cause tension within the family. Too much debt can ruin not just your relationships, but also your health.