Impulse Buying is one of the leading causes of death for the American bank account and pocketbook. Although the pocketbook mortality rate is high, there is a cure for Impulse Buying. Careful planning, when taken with the help of family and friends supporting the Impulse Buyer, can cure Impulse Buying.
Impulse Buying is a habit, but it’s breakable. Shopping is a fact of life, though how much we shop is entirely up to us. We go to the mall, department store, or grocery store. Before leaving the house, had you made out a plan for what you were going shopping for? Did you already have an amount of money planned and set aside for purchases, an amount not to go past? Was your mind already made up not to buy anything but exactly what you planned upon? If the answers are “no,” then chances are you will end up Impulse Buying before you get back home.
The Symptoms of the Impulse Buyer
You leave home, intending just to go buy some groceries, but on the way to the store, you have to drive past the shopping mall. You decide on the spur of the moment to go “window” shopping in the mall. As you walk through the halls, enticing displays from the stores catch your eye, and you feel almost driven to check them out. Two hours later, you walk out of the mall carrying bags of items that cost you $200.
After the mall trip, you head on over to buy groceries. You had in your mind what you intended to purchase, and therefore did not make out a list. As you walk up and down the isles, items catch your attention, and you put some of those into the shopping cart, thinking this cannot really hurt anything. After all, the munchies sure do sound good and you have to eat. You come out with lots more groceries than you meant to get, spending $150 rather than the $70 you’d planned on.
Now you are hungry, having been gone hours longer than you anticipated. So you go through the local drive through and get lunch. You give the Fast Food Spot $15 and head for the house.
When you get home, you get everything put away and check out what you’ve brought home. Looking at the receipts, you are shocked at the amount you spent in just one day! You start worrying about how you are going to pay your other bills, and have enough money left to do until the next payday.
The next payday roles around, and you go through virtually the same routine. But you are at a loss on what to do about it. Even worse, you cannot figure out how this continues to happen to you week after week.
The Cure for Impulse Buying
While in most cases, a few instances of Impulse Buying will not break you, the amounts spent will eventually become very substantial. The dollars spent on Impulse Buying could very well add up to an enormous expense quickly. Impulse Buying does not have to be fatal to the pocketbook.
How do you cure Impulse Buying? What can be done to stop this dreaded habit from occurring again? Some simple steps can eliminate Impulse Buying from your mind and save your bank account, your savings, and your pocketbook! Yes, there is a cure!
1. Make out a list of all items you plan to purchase for each store.
2. Clip and take any coupons with you when you go shopping.
3. Decide on exactly how much money you will spend at each shopping place. For example, what is the limit you will spend this week on groceries? If you need shoes for example, what is the most you will pay for them?
4. Know before you leave home to go shopping how much you need for other items before the next payday, like gas for instance.
5. Before you leave home, eat if you are hungry. Though this might sound silly, this will help you be less likely to want to buy unplanned groceries.
6. Make your mind up before leaving home that you will NOT buy anything that is not written on your list. Make your mind up that you will NOT, under any circumstances, go past the amount you have set for each store or expense. If this means putting something back, then put it back.
7. Keep track of what you are spending. This means how much, where, when, etc.
8. Think before you buy. Ask yourself if you need this. Who is it going to benefit? Is it worth the money? Why do you feel you need it? The bottom line is…think before you buy.
There will be times when you see something that you feel you absolutely MUST have. This might be something you truly need in your home. If this item seems more of a luxury than actually needed, leave it sitting there on the shelf. Go back home and think about it for at least a day, if not longer. Many times when one does this, they will find they can live just fine without buying whatever it was.
The same works for catalogs and online shopping. No doubt you will run upon something you think you just have got to buy. Resist the urge to be an Impulse Buyer and don’t do it! Take at least a day or longer to think about it. Do you really need this? Can you afford it? What purpose will it serve you or your family? Chances are, after thinking it over, you’ll pass it up.
The Follow-Up Visit
When you go shopping without being an Impulse Buyer, come home and check your receipts and available money left the way you did before when you still were an Impulse Buyer. You will see a significant change in your bank account. Your pocket book will live again! Your bank account will thrive again! But it is up to you to keep it that way. You must resist the urge to buy something just to be buying it. You must keep making a list of what you need to buy and how much you plan to spend EVERY time you go shopping.
Impulse Buying can be cured, but it can also relapse if you are not careful in your spending habits. You must plan ahead and you must think before you buy. Keeping these two thoughts put into action weekly will keep Impulse Buying from sneaking back in when you are not expecting him.