Tricks to combat impulse buying

Think before you buy. Easier said than done really. As most people find the urge to splurge quite hard to resist. Impulse buying is a dangerous habit and is the cause of needless debt. So how exactly do we avoid this trap when we are but mere humans, constantly subject to sale posters and marketing ploys?

1. Stay at home.

Avoid going to the mall after school or at work. Unless you really have to, never step foot in a shop. And should you find yourself in one, shorten your stay and stop mindless loitering. Clearly tell yourself that you are perhaps just there to browse and NOT TO BUY. Believe me, you won’t die if you don’t buy anything at all despite what your emotions tell you. You’ll find yourself with heaps of regrets when you are unable to commit to just browsing. If you do see something you fancy, then just take note of it and do tip #4.

2. Mark your credit cards.

Credit card gives you the false sense that you can afford that wonderful kitchen strainer in your favorite color, even if you already have two back at home. Many claim that letting go of those cards are just unreasonable as they are there for emergency situations. Sure, that closing sale is an emergency. But since it is truly hard to part with them, here’s a trick to prevent you from using them.

Why not put them on a sleeve with an image of your kids, that holiday you have been longing for or of something which is actually more significant than a DVD set of your favorite show? This tip is a great visual tool that will make you think twice before taking that card off its sleeve. Or you can always put the cards on the freezer.

3. Limit your cash.

You do not have credit card you say? Good on you mate, but this does not mean that you are free from the urges of impulse buying. Acknowledging that you are likely to be prone to the desire to buy is a giant step. Better limit the cash on your wallet and set an allowance for yourself every week instead.

Place just enough cash to pay for your transportation or meals and nothing else. Seeing heaps of money within your grasp has a similar effect to credit cards. They trick you in believing that you have money to spare. So curb your impulses by limiting access to cash.

4. Delay purchase. Start the habit of jotting down items into a wish list instead of buying stuff right away. You can schedule a time to go back to the list after a fortnight or when you have saved enough for a “big” purchase. Part of combating impulse buying is controlling ourselves to stop and think. With enough time, the urge to splurge settles down. You can also try the $100 rule when you wait a day for every $100 you plan to spend. Delay, delay, delay.

Using these tricks can help you handle your finances more prudently. It will help you realize that those wonderful must-have items popping out on shop windows aren’t really necessary after all. Prioritize your purchases to avoid finding yourself in debt or with little cash for important spending. There is nothing more shameful for a shopper than the feeling of next-day regret. So wise up and arm yourself with these helpful tips the next time you shop.

Jessy is an Autralia-based mom, frugal blogger and social web entrepreneur. She blogs for HomeLoanFinder, the free eco-friendly refinance home loan comparison tool. You can also follow Jessy on Twitter as @JessyTroy