How to Cure Impulse Buying Addiction
Updated: Mar 31
Between stimulus and response, there is a space in which lies our power to choose our response. Often, the prevalent consumerism culture makes us lose control and succumb to temptation. As a result, we purchase things without considering their consequences, which is referred to as impulse buying. But the question is, Cure Impulse Buying Addiction?
At the moment, purchasing discounted movie tickets or a new pair of shoes might feel great. You may even have the whole outfit planned to wear to the movies. But once you have made the purchase, the regret of busting your budget hits you.
The truth is that impulse buying is bad news for your financial planning over the long haul. Not only do you run the risk of getting yourself into debt and sabotaging your financial goals but you can spiral down the path of anxiety and unhappiness.
While it also doesn’t mean that you should never splurge, it is important to practice self-discipline. You should be able to identify when businesses are manipulating you to spend more, whittling away at your discipline.
Luckily, there are some great strategies to keep the effects of impulse buying at bay. Here are 5 impulse buying solutions that can let you have fewer regrets and a fatter wallet!
Find out Why You are Doing it
To overcome something, you have to first understand it. If you are trying to find out how to overcome impulse buying, you should first ask yourself why you are purchasing something you do not want. While most of us know the full effects of impulse buying, not everyone knows what is causing it.
The first thing to understand is that everything we purchase fills a need. But often the need being filled is emotional. For instance, have you ever tried to cheer yourself up after a long day by buying something new and shiny? Did that purchase really make you feel happy? In most cases, the pleasure derived from retail therapy is momentary.
A great alternative to fulfill your emotional need is by investing in something that offers you true happiness. Another way is to list down all of your values and further narrowing that list down to the top three. Now, every time you proceed to purchase something, use these values as a guide. Suppose you value supporting local businesses. When you try to buy a mass-produced item, you will start to think twice before making an impulse purchase.
Plan Your Spending
Another great tip is to plan your spending before you spend. Make it a point to prepare a shopping list before you go shopping and stick to it while shopping. Developing this simple habit can go a long way toward overcoming impulse buying. Apart from grocery shopping, it is a good idea to plan for other purchases as well. When you plan a purchase beforehand, you naturally start saving for it and put more thought into your purchase decision. Sometimes, you even find ways to get the same item at a discount or even free.
This process of planning your spending ensures that your purchases are more deliberate, rather than impulsive. Especially, if you have to make a large purchase, plan ahead and save up. Chances are if you don’t need that item, you’d have convinced yourself not to follow through when you come across it.
Pay in Cash
A good way to curb impulse buying is by changing the method of payment. Most of the impulse purchases we make are done with the use of a credit or debit card. Research shows that when you pay with cash instead of using a card, you tend to spend a lot less. This is, in fact, a psychological phenomenon, which makes it harder for you to part with cold hard cash.
Similarly, if you use the new mobile payment systems that are now used at Walmart and other stores, impulse buying becomes even more convenient. Try paying for all your purchases with cash and you are bound to overcome impulse buying.
Include Splurges in Your Budget
Sticking to budgets all the time is almost impossible for most people. Rather than following an uptight budget with no room for a little indulgence, give yourself permission to spend some for fun.
Putting aside some amount in your budget for fun purchases can be a great way to tackle impulse buying. Not only does it allow you to know your budgeting limits but also takes away the feeling of deprivation. The idea is to make your budget feel flexible enough to allow for the fun element in your spending.
You can set aside a certain amount, say $200, to spend on stuff that makes you feel good. When you will know that you have this amount to spend as you like, you will have more control over your spending. It also helps you see how many of such things are non-essentials and it’s only your mind that is making them feel so important. Similarly, if you happen to spend more than you planned for splurges, you will be able to cut back on other things more easily.
Use a Smart Tool for Accountability
Much like how technology has made it easier to buy impulsively, it has also made it pretty convenient to stay on track. You can find numerous online budgeting tools to account for your spending and expenses. Mobile applications, like Doctor Money, are particularly very effective in helping you stick to your budget. When you are experiencing that sudden urge to spend, you can quickly check-in on your smartphone to decide if that purchase is worth the financial goals you are sacrificing. We need to Cure Impulsive Buying Addiction.
Impulse buying is an enemy of simplicity and savings. Almost everyone has been there and knows how difficult it can be to curb the urge to buy impulsively. In fact, when you are out on a grocery run or shopping at a mall, the stimulus of advertising can be too powerful to overcome. And even when you are fully aware of the effects of impulse buying, you can still fall prey to it.
But that also does not mean that you cannot overcome it at all. The key to avoiding impulse buying is to think about it. It is only when impulse buying is lurking in your subconscious that it’s most dangerous. So, when you begin to think and plan for it, and use smart tools, you can actually beat it.
An intuitive and smart tool like the Doctor Money app can help you understand your spending patterns and plan accordingly. Download the app right now and set yourself free of the grip of impulse buying!