I have to make a confession which I feel is one of the first steps toward recovery.
I am an impulse buyer.
I buy things on a whim. I buy things based on emotions. I buy things just to buy them.
It becomes especially troublesome with Amazon prime. It’s like Christmas every two days. At one point I would order things and forget what it was I ordered so it truly was a surprise when I received the box! I’ve had to adopt strategies to cull this habit of mine.
- Put Items into Lists
- Cart Jail
- Reward for Goals Met
- Do the Math
- Set Budgets
- Save it For Birthday and Christmas Presents
- Look for Alternatives to Buying
PUT ITEMS INTO LISTS
Put the items I want in labeled lists so I have the satisfaction of having them where I can see them BUT I am not buying it. I have several lists in different categories, books, clothing, jewelry, etc.
I place things in my cart BUT I do not buy it. If I still want it a week from now then I must truly want it. Most times I just end up adding the item to one of my lists or to my ‘save for later’.
REWARD FOR GOALS MET
Rather than buying things just to buy them, I buy for a purpose. The item is a reward for something. I made it through my workout week, I didn’t continue a bad habit. The purchase is a prize.
DO THE MATH
Consider how much I had to work to pay for whatever it is I want. For example, a $200 purchase? That’s about two days worth of work. It makes me consider if it is really worth it. It also makes me think about what work has to be done to make up for that purchase.
I use the Mint app to create budgets so I get a big red notification when I go offer a set budget. It’s like a glaring reminder that I am not doing what I need to be doing. It also serves as a visual to see just how much I am spending versus what I am making.
SAVE IT FOR BIRTHDAY AND CHRISTMAS REQUESTS
Rather than focus on making the purchase, I save the things I want as suggestions of what to get me for my birthday or Christmas. So it no longer becomes an impulse buy but a true gift from someone else!
LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES TO BUYING
Rather than buy new clothes at a high value, see if you can find similar or better at clothing consignment or thrift stores. Check out places like Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, OfferUp App, or Posh Mark to see if someone is selling an item you want cheaper than it would be to buy new.
Consider crafting or making something yourself. You never know, you might discover a new talent or business calling!
All in all, being an impulse buyer can put a big strain on your finances. If your impulse is based on emotions, consider a different way to heal from or work through an emotion.
Impulse buying can give you great satisfaction but the consequences often offset that pleasure. Give these tips a try if you are looking to do better!