Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tips To Curb Impulse Buying

How do we curb impulse buying? You know what I mean, buying less crap. But we don't say impulse buying without a reason. Human beings are irrational when faced with choices.

Just ask my wife when she goes on her weekly therapy of window shopping. She has been kinder to my wallet and credit cards ever since we got serious about balancing our family budget but she still fall prey to impulse buying occasionally.

Tips To Curb Impulse Buying
Needless to say, my money management goals for the month is busted when I looked at her shopping bills after returning from those once-in-a-lifetime Sales.

To be frank, I am frustrated by impulse buying but I don't believe in shouting or banging tables to resolve money conflicts. Such activities are unproductive and will only cause a happy family to split up.

Instead, I sit down with her, review our household budget and explain what sacrifices we have to make to offset this sudden expense. I also reiterate the importance of a joint effort in achieving our financial goals. There will be "punishments" for breaking our family budget too.

Now, precaution is certainly better than cure. Rather than antagonize over the impulse purchases, fighting the urge in the first place will save all the trouble. Here are some tips we have used to prevent impulse buying.

You may have heard these cliched tips before and though they are not the most inspiring, I assure you they go a long way towards curbing our age old habits.

1. Define what you need before you shop. Go into the store with a specific goal so that you never get tempted by instant gratifications.

2. Go home and wait a day before returning to buy. After rationalizing the purchase, you may not want to make the return trip back to store. Just think of the gas bills.

3. Do not shop when you are depressed, lonely, hungry, angry, worried, tired, etc. You will be most vulnerable to impulse buying and the momentary high will result in weeks of regret and penny pinching.

4. Comparison shop for the best price rather than buy the item on impulse when you first see it.

5. Think of a punishment if you burst the budget or use the credit card again(for example, there will be no vacations and you will have to cook and do the dishes for an entire month).

6. Appreciate the simple things in life. Treasure what we have, inclduing the used stuff. We already have enough junk in our house and should be giving them out to charity instead of buying more.


SingleGuyMoney said...

Waiting a day has been an excellent tip for me and has probably saved me a couple thousand dollars. Once you have time to think about it, you realize you probably don't need what you were planning to buy.

jj-momscashblog said...

Great ideas on how to curb impulse buying. I think one big thing to remember is you can't beat yourself up if you do slip up, but try to remember or have a goal that you are reaching for.

Jennifer said...

How does your wife feel about the punishment? Maybe she would be willing to return the items? Sometimes I do that after I have given in to temptation and is a nice way to fix a mistake . . .

Barry Ritz said...

@ SingleGuyMoney -

Yup, my wife has saved me thousands of dollars by waiting a day too, else I will be in even worse financial shape.

The thing about waiting a day or so is that it allows us to rationalize the purchase and probably even discuss with our spouse.

Barry Ritz said...

@ jj-momscashblog -

You are right. There is no point crying over spilled milk, we just got to make other sacrifices together.

Barry Ritz said...

@ Jennifer -

My wife understands the importance of balancing the budget. She just slip up at times but she takes the "punishment" in her stride.

We do have incentives like going on her dream vacation when we meet or even exceed our financial target.

By the way, returning the items is a good idea and I may ask her to do that next time. Thanks for the suggestion.

Money Beagle said...

I would also add one that seems counter-intuitive, and that's to budget some money to splurge once in a while. You'll find that if you deny yourself all the time, eventually it's like a pressure cooker and the spending spree will be monumental. If you plan to treat yourselves every once in a while, that will reduce the urge to impulse buy and will save in the end, plus you have the advantage of having money already set aside for the spending.

broberts said...

"Appreciate the simple things in life. Treasure what we have, inclduing the used stuff. We already have enough junk in our house and should be giving them out to charity instead of buying more."

Love this! I know I should do this more! Very useful information. Thanks. :)

Mark said...

Good blog, I have to get my wife to read it. Shopping is such a temporary relief, as happiness comes from within, not without.