Think Before Making an Impulse Purchase
We have all been there; once again we leave the store with a thousand things we instantly regret buying. As we walk down the aisles, we often feel like we are being bombarded by products — and any way we turn there is some item calling our name. Of course we don’t need it, but boy do companies know how to make us want it.
The impulse purchase is a phenomenon most of us have experienced, sometimes on a regular basis. But let’s be honest, is it worth it? Here is what you need to know before making an impulse purchase:
Create a budget
Create a budget and stick to it. Be sure to have all of your essentials covered, some wiggle room for savings and then consider this purchase. Even if it is something useful that you have a purpose for, it is a bad decision if your bank account can’t support it. So before stuffing your cart full of the latest release from Apple or a giant stuffed teddy bear, you have to remember that money is a limited resource.
Once a week sit down to write a list of all the things you need to buy. Carry it on you at all times so you don’t stray from it. You can also list your budget to ensure you are following suit. Pull it out before you venture inside the store. If you really don’t trust yourself, bring someone who will keep you in line, like a friend or your boyfriend.
Do your research
With the vast array of choices available, it is easy to become overwhelmed and buy the first item you come across in the store or online. This isn’t smart shopping — it is lazy shopping. Make sure to check out reviews if you aren’t sure what to pick. For example, if you are looking to buy a watch, check out an MVMT watch review before handing over the dough. If you want some new eyeshadow, see what users are saying about the new Urban Decay pallet. If you are going to buy something on the fly, you might as well purchase something good.
Separate wants from needs
Most impulse purchases are emotional purchases. In the moment, you think you absolutely want that new set of dining room chairs for your home or that expensive silk scarf. But the thing is, you probably don’t need it. Don’t just picture yourself wearing those great heels or how great they will look with your favorite dress; be honest with yourself about how often you will use that item. If you can’t easily justify spending the money on it, it is time to back away from the checkout line.
Pick up good habits
You know how the saying goes: old habits die hard. If you truly want to change how you spend your money, make it a rule to stop before you shop. Before reaching for those fabulous winter boots, take a moment to determine if they are really what you need. Pause and take a breath before pulling out your credit card. Look at what is in your basket and take out whatever you threw in there spontaneously. You have to actively train yourself to shop without giving into impulse decisions, otherwise your bank account will always be empty.
Don’t let the bright colors get you
Packaging is specifically designed to grab your attention as you peruse through a store. Companies use bright colors and snappy slogans to catch your eye so you are attracted to their product even if you have never thought about buying it before. And don’t be fooled by big sales that stores put on. They are a retail tactic to get you to start buying — and they work. Promotional sales convince you to pick up items you think you need on the spot. You should only buy items on sale that you would be buying if they were not (i.e. what is on your shopping list!).
Impulse purchases can feel rewarding in the moment, but often become a regret later. If you find this is the case far too often, it is time to reevaluate your relationship with shopping. Consider your wallet, your needs and the necessary items you could be buying with the money used on the superfluous item. If the purchase still makes sense after considering all those factors, then feel free to indulge a little.