Do you know how much money the average American spends on impulse purchases each year? $5,400! That’s a lot! So many people spend their money on things they don’t even want, instead of learning how to stop impulse buying.
Imagine what they could do with all this money. They could take their family on a great vacation in a beautiful location.
Or they could put it towards paying off your debt. They could invest it, buy a house, or start building your savings and your wealth.
I get it. Shopping can get addictive.
But if you want to start saving and to be more intentional with how you spend your hard-earned money, you should reconsider your shopping habits.
Your wallet and your future self will thank you for it!
To get you started, I’ve come up with 13 tips to stop impulse buying and to shop intentionally.
How to stop impulse buying: 13 tips to shop intentionally
1 – Stay away from shopping triggers
When we can’t help but buy things on impulse, we need to set boundaries for ourselves and purposely stay away from shopping triggers.
I recommend that you go to your inbox and unsubscribe from any stores’ mailing lists. It can take some time, but it’s so worth it!
This way, you won’t receive their “special offers”, as well as other ads that trigger your shopping desire.
When you’re out, avoid passing by your favorite store when you can, so that you don’t “accidentally” end up in the store.
2 – Declutter your home to reassess what you own
This tip might not be as straightforward as the other ones.
If you’re an impulse shopper, I recommend that you declutter your material belongings. You might understand that you already have everything you need at home.
Going through your things will also make you know exactly what you already own.
This way, next time you want to buy a black dress, you’ll remember that you already have several in your closet.
There are so many decluttering tips that can help you go through your belongings!
While reevaluating what you already have, try to express gratitude for your things. It will help you feel that you have enough and that you don’t need to buy more things.
Understanding that you don’t need to buy more things is one of the many benefits of living a simplified and more minimal life.
3 – Tell yourself that you’re buying things with hours from your life
One of my favorite quotes is from Joshua Becker and it can help you stop impulse buying: “We don’t buy things with money, we buy them with hours from our lives”.
It means that if you earn $40 per hour and you buy something for $40, you are buying it with the hour of your life that is spent earning that money.
When we start seeing shopping as exchanging our lives to buy physical items, it makes us think. Are these items REALLY worth it?
We can also see this from another point of view: buying things means that you will then need to spend time maintaining, cleaning, and repairing them.
No matter how you see it, it should deter you from making impulsive purchases.
4 – Find a hobby you love
When we’re bored, we may be very tempted to go out and visit the mall to entertain ourselves. It is a way of making the time pass, right?
But, it is a dangerous hobby to have as you may end up spending so much money and you could get into debt for it.
Instead, try to find a hobby that you enjoy doing every time you’re bored and don’t know what to do.
There are so many options out there, such as these 50 things to do when you are bored at home!
Having a hobby you love will prevent you from going shopping every time you don’t know what to do.
And it will help you with not spending your money on things you don’t need or want.
5 – Do a shopping ban
If you want to stop impulse buying, an efficient way to tackle the problem is to impose a shopping ban on yourself.
For instance, I recommend doing a 30-day spending freeze. You would only buy the necessities for one month, like food or hygiene products.
Some people even go for year-long shopping bans to transform their spending habits for good.
The great thing with doing a spending freeze is that you will know what it feels like to not buy things.
You will discover other things that you prefer doing, and realize that you don’t need shopping to entertain yourself.
And you’ll understand that you don’t need to buy all these things that you used to buy impulsively.
Do it for a week, a month, or a year. Whatever you need to stop feeling triggered and pushed to go shopping.
6 – Give yourself a few days to think about the purchase you want to make
To make sure you don’t buy anything on impulse, force yourself to never buy things immediately. Of course, I’m talking about non-consumable items here.
Get into the habit of waiting for at least a few days before buying a given item.
Tell yourself that it won’t go away if you don’t get it now, that you have the time to make sure that it is something that you truly want.
After this period, if you still want it, you can buy it. And chances are you’ll have forgotten about that thing, so you’ll be thankful that you did not buy it immediately.
Waiting before making a purchase will help you be more intentional, and make sure you’re not shopping impulsively.
7 – Remove your credit card information from shopping websites
Online stores have made it so easy for customers to buy things on their website.
They let you save your credit card information to make it quicker for you next time you want to buy something.
Your next purchase is one click away from being delivered to your home.
If you’re struggling with impulse buying, delete any credit card information from these websites. It will be one more step to take before you buy something.
You might even feel too lazy to look for your credit card and might give up on the idea of purchasing that given thing.
Make it harder for you to shop on impulse!
8 – Avoid ads
If you’re easily tempted to buy stuff, avoid ads that you may see in your everyday life as much as possible. Whether that is in the street, on TV, on the Internet, in magazines…
Try to skip them and not look at what they have to offer.
Even better, block ads on your browser to not have them displayed at all while on your computer.
Ads are made to make you feel like you’re not good enough.
Companies want you to think that you need to buy things to be better. That you need to have more.
Don’t listen to these messages by avoiding them at all costs!
9 – Only go shopping with a list
When you need to go to the store to buy certain items, remember to write a list of the things you need beforehand.
Before even leaving your house, you should have a list of the products you need to buy.
Try to be as specific as possible. For instance, if you want to buy a shirt, be specific about what color and cut it has to have.
This way, you know exactly what you need to buy and will be less tempted to buy something else that you don’t need.
To avoid making impulse purchases, force yourself to stick to it and don’t even look at other things in the store.
10 – Don’t go shopping when you’re sad or stressed
When we buy something, we often feel happy and excited about the new purchase we’ve made.
But the thing is, this feeling never lasts for a long time. You may feel this way for a few hours, or a few days, but your excitement will quickly fade away.
Many people use retail therapy as a way to feel better, but the feeling of gratification won’t last.
If you feel sad, angry, or stressed, don’t go shopping for useless things.
You may soon realize that these are things you don’t even want and that you bought them to feel better at that time.
11 – Use cash instead of credit cards
When you are paying with real cash, chances are that you may be a lot less willing to let your money go than if you were to pay by credit card.
Credit cards make it so easy to pay, and you don’t need to go to the ATM every time you’re out of cash in your wallet.
But it can get dangerous if you get into consumer debt to buy impulsive purchases.
Whereas paying with cash makes you think a bit more about what you’re buying.
You cannot find yourself overspending, because if you don’t have enough, you can’t buy the items you want to buy.
Carrying cash instead of a credit card may be a solution for you to stop impulse buying so much.
12 – Set specific financial goals
If you’re used to overspending while shopping, sit down, and set some financial goals for yourself. Think of something that is going to motivate you.
Is it saving $1,000 to take your family on a nice vacation? Is it paying off $20,000 in student loans? Or do you want to save $50,000 for a downpayment to buy a house?
Whatever the goal may be, try to be as specific as possible. And when you’re about to buy something, pause and think about these goals.
Ask yourself: Is the item I am buying more important than reaching my goals? It probably isn’t!
Not setting proper financial goals is a money mistake that you can easily avoid doing if you want to become more financially-free.
13 – Don’t go shopping with friends that make you buy things
Have you already bought something because you were with someone who told you to do so, but you ended up regretting it?
If so, avoid being with your friends that are impulse shoppers themselves when you’re at the store. Of course, I’m not saying to end your friendship.
Try to do other activities with them instead of shopping. Tell them that you want to stop making impulsive purchases and start to save money.
You may also add that you prefer spending quality time with them doing something more meaningful. I’m sure they’ll understand.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that these 13 tips to stop impulse buying and to shop intentionally were helpful!
If you’re used to shopping and buying things on impulse, it can be hard to get out of this situation.
Following these tips should help you be more intentional with how you spend your money and what you buy.
Learning how to stop impulse buying is one of the best ways to save money and to live more frugally in your everyday life.
Let’s share with us, what are your top tips to stop impulse buying and to start shopping intentionally? I’d love to know!