3 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying

Debt freedom is not an easy task. I have only been at it for about a week now and I almost fell victim to buying something just to get something new.

I was at Circuit City today largely because I have a $25 gift card there and they are going out of business soon. I decided to buy a thumb drive for $20 as it’s something I’ll actually use.

While I was there, I found myself browsing. Browsing is one of the quickest ways to fill up your cart with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. I was wandering around aimlessly looking at how many things I want; GPS, HDTV, movies, CDs, etc.

I quickly realized what I was doing, chose my flash drive, checked out and left. It made me realize three practices that I need to become more disciplined about:

  • Grocery shopping and eating – never go out grocery shopping while you’re hungry. I have done this plenty of times and it results in your cart quickly filling up with a bunch of items that you know taste good. Most of the time, you don’t need any of these things, and they are all extremely expensive.
  • Browsing – as I mentioned before, I started to find a bunch of stuff that I simply wanted, but did not need, thanks to browsing. Whenever you go grocery shopping, or shopping in general, know exactly why you are going. Unless you have a valid reason to go, I would suggest not going at all. When you do go, do your best to be in and out with only those items you intended on picking up. My logic has always been this – if I did not think I needed before I left the house, and suddenly I see it at the store and think, “Oh, I could use this”, I actually never thought I needed it until I saw it.
  • Buying on price alone – I’m personally more about the idea of buying based on need rather than buying because something is on sale (unless the sale is stupidly amazing). For example, I saw that most of the TV’s at Circuit City were 30% off. Some of the TVs were dirt cheap and I noticed myself trying to figure out if I could maneuver my budget to accommodate a new TV. It was a quick answer when I reminded myself of how many people I owe money to. The lesson here is similar to the browsing idea; unless you know you need it to get by (or have been good and saved up specifically for that item) then you should forgo it.

It’s funny how a simple trip to the store made me think of all these items. I know that I’m not the only one that falls victim to this as I see people do it everyday. Those marketers sure are good at grabbing your attention and selling you things you don’t need. Become disciplined and force yourself to make the right decision. You will feel much better about yourself than you will with that brand new HDTV you can’t afford.

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2 Comments on “3 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying”

  1. Miranda Says:

    Great tips. Especially the one about buying on price. Just because it’s a “good deal” doesn’t mean that you should buy it. Spending money is still spending money — no matter how cheap you get something.

  2. JW Says:

    I agree. Your last point about buying something because the price is “stupidly amazing” is definitely worth thinking about. I mean, how awesome is that HDTV going to be if you’re going to have to eat Mac&Cheese, every day, for the next 6 months, in order to pay for it?


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