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What Is Impulse Buying? Why You Do It and How to Avoid It

What do we know about impulse buying?

The habit of purchasing items without much consideration is known as impulse buying. It is somewhat like taking an unplanned trip to a place that you recently got to know about and came home after spending quite a lot of money unnecessarily. It may result in regret later, but not always. Now let us understand how we ponder upon such practices in our daily lives. Imagine waiting for your turn at the billing counter and getting your eyes stuck on a packet of colourful cards. It does not cost a lot, so you pick it up and add it to your shopping bag. Now, this is the most basic example of impulse spending.

In this article, we will be exploring the reasons behind such inconsiderate habits and how you can avoid them and indulge in impulse saving practices. 

Why do we do impulse spending?

The four major reasons for impulse spending are:

  • Emotions 
  • Experiences 
  • Peer pressure 
  • Discounts and offers
  • Our emotions impact our buying habits

Let us understand this through a simple example. Imagine you are excited about the weekend and are daydreaming in your cubicle. Suddenly your boss piles up more work on you for the day and you start feeling frustrated. Clueless about where to begin with, you order a pastry and some hot coffee for yourself. While this was important to boost your work spirit, it was a kind of unnecessary expense that could have been avoided if the work was not given to you or you had some homemade food in your bag.

  • We learn from our experience

What we get to see and learn right from our childhood impacts our habits as grown-ups. If you belong to a family where all the elderly people had good saving habits then you are likely to pick those habits. On the other hand, if you are used to impulse buying from your childhood, you are most likely to follow the same when you grow up.

  • Peer pressure

Peer pressure may result in buying things you do not even need or that does not even fit in your monthly budget. When you are with your peers, you are most likely to overlook the thoughts such as how to avoid impulse buying. You may be lured to buy the expensive or lavish items they possess or would want to show off or match other people’s social class with the help of materialistic items.

  • Heavy discounts or seasonal offers lure us 

Who is not interested in purchasing items at a sale? A sale is meant to lure customers to spend more than what they might have planned. Thus, a lot of us end up bringing home an extra pair of pants as soon as we come across a sale.

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How to Avoid impulse buying?

  • Go shopping with a list

It is one of the best and wise methods to avoid impulse spending. Shopping with a list helps you stick to the items that you need to buy and avoid picking up unnecessary ones or forget some. You can even keep a track of the estimated and actual amount spent.

  • Try the 24h waiting period rule

This rule asks you to wait for at least 24 hours before buying something expensive. Utilise this time to reevaluate what you already have, your budget, and the necessity of the item you wish to purchase. It will help you make a fair decision and probably save you from a hundred regrets.

  • Do not buy irreplaceable items

Even if you are just getting started with impulse saving practices, this tip will help you ace it. When you buy something out of your shopping list, make sure that it is replaceable otherwise you will regret it later.

  • Challenge yourself frequently 

This is an interesting method! Say, for example, you are accustomed to spending money on the weekends. Then try clutching your wallet during alternate weekends and avoid spending. It will help you save a good amount of money. 

  • Remember your saving goals 

If you are looking for ways to stop impulse spending, you are probably doing it to save money for the long term. Hence, it is very important to keep in mind your saving goals.

  • Follow a compulsory Waiting Period

additionally to the Golden Rule — always make a shopping list before you head bent on the shop and stick with it. In an off-the-cuff experiment i have been conducting with my cheapskate friends, most of the people who do this say that over 1/2 the time they never return to shop for the item after the weeklong cooling-off period, and even once they do return to the shop with the intention of shopping for it, once they see the item again they often decide they now not want it.

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