Monitoring your Impulse Shopping

shoppingDo you have a problem with impulse spending? If so, the first step to controlling it is monitoring your urges. Make it a goal to monitor and track your spending urges over the next week or two.

Keep a small notebook handy, and every time you get an urge to buy something, practical or not, put a little tally in the notebook. Tally every urge, whether it is to buy something online, or at a store, looking at a catalog, thinking about that new iPod while at your desk, or even if it’s multiple urges to buy the same item.
Whether you buy the item or not, just keep track of the urges. Many times the urges are subconscious. You won’t be able to control your spending if you’re not aware of it.

Some other tips, beyond this first step, for controlling impulse spending:

  • Avoid the mall or other shopping areas. Just going there practically guarantees you’ll buy something on impulse. Do something outdoors or at home instead.
  • If you have to go shopping, go with a list. And stick to the list. Tell yourself that anything not on the list is strictly forbidden.
  • Keep a 30-day list. If you have an urge to buy something, make it a rule that you have to first write it on your 30-day list. If, at the end of those 30 days, you still want it, then you can buy it (if you have the money). Just the act of putting it on the list (awareness) and forcing yourself to wait (delay) can make a big difference.
  • Find other things to do with your friends or family. Do you hang out with people who love to shop as a pastime? Encourage them to do something else. Go outside, to a park, to the beach. Have a potluck dinner at home. If your friends refuse to change, you may want to give some thought to who you hang out with, if you have different values.

I am always trying to consciously think of ways to curb my spending. And I can definitely vouch that these recommendations work in helping to curb Impulse shopping.

Monitoring your Impulse shopping is much like tracking your budget, right? It is an important aspect to monitor these habits if we expect to get out of debt. There will always be the next “glitzy” items on the shelves (remember the prize finds…hard earned cash…now going to charity or trash?).

If you do decide to buy the item, at least monitoring will allow you to find a better purchase. Keeping a notebook or 30-day list will give you time to research prices, potential sales, or similar products at a lower cost. You’ll hopefully make a more logical choice.

8 thoughts on “Monitoring your Impulse Shopping

  1. Ms. MoneyChat

    impulse shopping, my oh my. it was only when i budgeted in blow money that i was able to really curb the impulse shopping. i guess the reason this works for me is that i don’t impulsively buy anything major, like a new t.v, car or even clothes. my impulse shopping is mostly food;-).

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  3. Emily

    All of the suggestions I understand, except for the tallying impulse urges. How does that work?

    I like the 30-day notebook suggestion!

  4. admin

    Hi Emily,

    Tallying your impulses… this is much like when you are trying to find out what you allergic to. You see the allergist and she will tell you keep a log of what you eat, what you were doing… this is all so you can hopefully pinpoint the problem.

    So, in tallying your urges you are able to locate why and when you usually are impulsing. Do you impulse when you are stressed from work? Do you impulse when your friends get together? Once you identify the prominent time for impulsing you can help to curb or erradicate the problem.

    Problem: I notice I impulse shop when I get together with my friends
    Solution: Let me suggest having a bbq potluck with my friends instead of shopping with them
    Outcome: You don’t impulse shop with friends because they are at your house eating good food. And you save money because its a potluck and everybody is chipping in for this soiree.

    Hope this helps!

  5. admin

    Yes, perhaps….but for people who are shopping an awful lot these days (I mention no names) it may do some good. 🙂

  6. Oscar

    Nice tips, I’m gonna try some of them. I use to delay buying things for at least 24/48 hours after I have the impulse of buying. That way after the 24/48 I might discover I no longer want them.

  7. admin

    Thanks for stopping by! Isn’t funny how advertising can suck you in, at times. I think even a 24/48 hour delay is great! I found some great deals by waiting. I have to say that I love the internet for the ability to compare products and stores. 🙂

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