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Impulse Buying: How to Fight the Urge

Finance & Money

Posted on Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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Picture the scene: you’re in a long queue to pay for your groceries and there are items along the aisle. Into your trolley go some snacks and hand cream you don’t need…

Sound familiar? Impulse buying happens to the best of us, and while an unplanned purchase here and there seems fine, it adds up. Here’s how to stop impulse buying.


Create and stick to a budget

Planning out your finances means you’ll leave less room for impulse purchases. Draw up a budget, considering all your expenses – including debit orders – savings, etc. If there’s some wiggle room, you can use some money to treat yourself.


Avoid your triggers
If you find it hard to resist certain items, avoid the places you’d find them. This could mean only going to the mall when you need to, switching off email notifications from your favourite online stores or limiting time spent with people who shop recklessly.


Remember your goals

From saving up for a getaway to paying off debt, you may have financial goals that could easily be ruined by impulsive buying. Remind yourself of these goals regularly. Ways to do this include:


  • creating a money vision board with all your goals and sticking it up somewhere where you’ll see it every day
  • keeping a budgeting journal or notes on your smartphone

using a local financial tracking app like 22seven


Take social media breaks

How much time do you spend on social media? Even if you don’t notice, the more you scroll, the more ads you’re served. And research shows that these days, you are 55% more likely to buy an item directly on social media! If possible, in your social media settings, click on the ‘hide ads’ option, which will limit ads. Also, set a time limit on your apps in your smartphone’s settings.


Take a minute

Before swiping your card or checking out your virtual cart, give yourself 24 hours. If you’re shopping online, add the item to your wishlist and if it’s in-store, put it aside until the next day. Or better yet, see if it’s still there the next day (then it’s meant to be!). This extra time will help you weigh up how much you really want, or need, the item.


Good to know

Remember, this process is trial and error. Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up, as it takes time to break financial habits. Use these tips to keep yourself on the right track. Find more financial advice here.