Impulse buy, we’ve all done it! We go to the store for one or two inexpensive items and end up throwing a few extra things into the trolley. They look appealing or seem to a great deal. These impulse buys can drive up the amount you pay at checkout. And we often kick ourselves afterwards for spending money on them.

Before you start feeling guilty about it, know that you are not alone.

You can, resist the urge to add unnecessary items to your cart. The first step is knowing what the stores are trying to tempt you with so you know what the impulse triggers are.

Follow the Time Rule

This is something as small as the “one hour rule” and as big as the “30 day rule,” but the idea is the same. When you see something that you want, wait a certain amount of time before purchasing it. The longer you can go the better. If you still want the item at the end of the period, only consider buying it then.

Shop Alone

Sometimes we can’t avoid taking our kids to the store with us. When possible, it’s much easier to get in and out of the store without grabbing impulse buys when shopping alone. If you do bring the kids along, make sure they’re aware of the fact that you’re only going to buy what’s on your list. To distract them from requesting impulse items, ask them to help you spot what’s on the list. It’s almost like a game of hide and seek from their perspective.

Don’t shop when you upset

It’s easy to look for a product (whether it’s food, clothing, or something else) to cheer you up when you’re unhappy. If you’re an emotional shopper, avoid the store completely if you’re feeling upset or angry. If you like to shop when you’ve got a lot of free time, then only visit the store when you’re on a time limit. By practicing these restraints, it’s easy to curb impulse spending.

Use Cash

Using cash when you’re shopping is key.  Using cash helps you keep control of impulse spending by limiting your options.

When using cash you can only spend so much before you run out. You’re forced to consider your purchases more closely.  Using credit cards is so seamless that it’s easy to spend more than you intended and blow your budget out of the water.

It’s useful to have clear goals in mind at all times. What do you want to do with your life? Do you have financial goals that you’re trying to achieve, in the long-term and medium-term? Keep your savings goals in mind. And know when you’re about to make a purchase how the purchase will affect your goals.

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