Do you struggle with retail therapy? Do the impulse purchases leave you feeling defeated? Wondering endlessly where all your money went? For many retail therapy is an incredibly difficult habit to break.
However, when you’re just starting out on the minimalist path, it’s imperative that you focus on breaking free of impulse buying and the temptation to drown your sorrows in shopping.
Doing so will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. You’ll spend less money, waste fewer hours, and save precious space when you’re able to become more intentional about your shopping.
Just a few years ago I lived on food stamps that I got from the state. When we would go grocery shopping it was easy to make impulse purchases.
We didn’t really have to think about how much we spent or what we spent it on. I’m sure you have seen memes running around social media where it shows an ice box full of food on food stamps and an ice box nearly empty without food stamps.
In all honesty I laugh but its true.
Shortly after I was able to get off of state aid we were at the store buying groceries. My son asked for something that costed more than I planned to spend.
My response was:
Sorry we can’t afford that now that we don’t get food stamps anymore.
The thing is I said it without even thinking. Afterwards I just stood there in disbelief.
It was hard to comprehend how much I spent when it wasn’t my money.
But it made since. Thankfully, however I was able to recognize that I couldn’t spend that way now.
Yes, we had to sacrifice things we used to buy but at the same time I was stopping the impulse purchases that food stamps allowed me to make.
I’m sure you have heard of people who win the lottery and then find themselves filing Bankruptcy with-in five years.
Do you why that is? It’s because they don’t have a money mindset.
They was used to not having money so now that they have it they make impulse purchases to get rid of it.
While it can be tough stopping impulse purchases the following secrets and tips can help you stop them in their tracks.
How do You Stop Impulse Purchases?
There are many ways to stop impulse purchases. Honestly you are going to have to find what works for you. Here are 10 ways to stop impulse buying:
- Make a budget – once you make a budget stick to it! A great resource to help you do this is Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar. As you can see from the photo below you use the Free version and still get a lot of value from it.
- Permission to spend – giving yourself and your spouse if you are married permission to spend will help you stay on budget.
For example, my husband and I both pay our portions of the bills. Anything we have left after that is ours to spend. Of-course most of money goes on trips, outings with the kids, and vacations.
Those are the things that matter most to us. Living with less makes that possible.
- Have a shopping plan – honestly I need to preach this to myself because I almost always go to Walmart for a few things (usually food or toiletries) and walk out with a ton of stuff (usually food).
Having a plan will help you stay on track. I know this may sound crazy but if I go to Walmart and I have money to spend I will leave my gun in the car.
My husband and I both have our CCL’s which allows us to conceal and carry. With all the craziness going on in the world today you just never know what could happen.
However, I have found that if I leave my gun in the car I go in and get what I needed and I get the heck out of there!
Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous but it works. What is something ridiculous that could work to help you not overspend?
- Wait 24 hours – sleeping on a decision allows you to have a clear mind.
There was an SEO course that opened up yesterday and in the moment I just had to have it.
If you are new here then you may not know that I used to be a Course Junkie.
However, I have since been able to control those impulse purchases and focus on what I have already.
I won’t lie the course is pricey and although I already have an SEO course I can’t help but feel like this one would be different. But will it really?
There is a time as a minimalist that you come to realize countdowns are just that. A countdown. It isn’t the end of the world.
I use to jump on courses because the countdown was running out and I panicked!
Not no more. It isn’t the end of the world. And to be honest whatever the promotion is, it will come around again. They always do.
It’s time we stop feeling pressured to impulse buy. Impulse purchases only leave us feeling stressed and regretful. Give it 24 hours and see how you feel.
- Don’t shop while your hungry or emotional – I’m sure you heard the saying “don’t shop when your hungry.
Well the same rule applies when you are feeling emotional.
- Don’t carry Credit Cards on you – only carry cash on you and only carry what you need.
I personally don’t like carrying cash but I do carry my debit card. However, I have a note in my phone with my budget (spending amount) to remind me.
I do carry my credit cards but I feel that I am disciplined enough to know what I can spend and can’t spend.
If you feel like you don’t have control then I highly recommend leaving your credit cards at home locked up.
- Think of How Much Work an Item Costs –
A trick that can cast some perspective on each purchase you make is to tally up how many hours of work are required for you to buy that thing.
Your time on the job requires effort and skill. You don’t want to trade that time and work for something of little value in the long run.
Instead, consider each potential purchase as time worked.
When you realize that trendy dress is worth five hours of your hard work, it may not be worth the investment at all.
Consider the joy each item will bring you, how much use you’ll get out of it, and whether you’ll look back fondly on the purchase six months from now.
- Avoid Retail Therapy – Try to resist the temptation to shop as therapy if that’s historically been an issue for you.
Consider your feelings before heading out to the stores. If you think a purchase will relieve stress, sadness, anger, or any other emotion, try to postpone a shopping trip.
Do something else you enjoy that doesn’t cost money until you’re better able to process your feelings.
This goes for online retail sites, too. Walk away from the computer if you need to.
- Keep Your Goals in Mind – Mindless spending and impulse buys can really add up.
It’s easy to spend a significant amount of money on things you don’t truly enjoy all that much or ones that get little use in the end.
When you feel the urge to buy something impulsively, take a moment to think of your actual spending goals.
Are there things you would like to save for, like a vacation or a down payment?
Put the money you might have spent frivolously in your wish fund instead. You could always decide to buy the thing at a later date if you decide you really want it.
These are just some of the ways you can stop impulse purchases in their tracks.
Tip: They key is to find a way to delay the buy until either the urge passes or until you determine the purchase is a worthwhile one.
You’ll be more satisfied in the long run, and you’ll keep your clutter to a minimum.