Each time you spend your money on something, you should know when to control. It is the same with shopping. Most people are falling in the debt trap because they cannot resist themselves and cannot control their shopping expenses. People who are impulsive buyers tend to live in major denial about it. If you constantly keep track of the discount sales in the nearby shopping mall, if your favourite pass-time includes hitting the mall and buying new things or if you have clothes stuffed in your closet that you don’t even wear, this means that you are suffering from the tendency to shop impulsively.
If you are find yourself spending hastily on any materialistic thing, then sooner or later you will end up being impulsive about important financial decisions as well. In such cases, you need to think with an open mind and not give in to your temptations.
It requires lots of patience and determination to remove the shopaholic tag from your name. You might even require a close friend of family member’s assistance to bring about control in your behaviour. Let’s look at some ways of avoiding impulse buying:
- Pay by cash: If you feel like shopping, leave the credit card home with somebody responsible and pay by cash. Using a credit card means you don’t have a limit to how much you will be spending at any given time and hence it is always better to not carry the credit card. When you pay by cash, the tendency to spend impulsively falls greatly
- Fix the monthly amount beforehand: Make a mental note that you will only be spending a certain amount in the month. Stick to that limit as much as possible and keep reminding yourself about it every time you feel like shopping. If you cross this limit, get yourself to pay a penalty like investing in a certain bond or fixed deposit.
- Make a list: You should step out to shop only after making a list of things which you need to buy. Don’t make unnecessary additions to your list – for example, only if your laptop is really beyond repair, should you choose to buy a new one. Stick to the things that need replacement and not the ones you would like to spend on.
- Avoid hobbies: Some celebrities have expensive hobbies like collecting watches, handbags or designer shoes. Avoid adapting to any of these habits because they will prove to be a loss in the long run. You must indulge only to the extent your financial position comfortably allows you to do so.
- Shop with someone responsible: Take a friend or a relative along while you are shopping who can maturely handle when you feel like over indulging yourself. Your irrational behaviour may be at bay if there is somebody with you.
- Don’t get tempted: Don’t keep your eye open for discount sales and offers every time you step out. A discount sale must be opted for only if you see value in it, or if you are going to get some benefits out of it. For example, if you need new clothes and if you get a good dress at 50% of the cost, then you can go ahead and purchase it. However, if you simply want to add clothes to your collection, then it doesn’t make sense to buy it even if you get it at a discount.
- 30 day rule: If you absolutely need something expensive, keep a 30 day gap between buying other expensive things. This gives you time to think whether it is a need or a want. You may even give up on buying if finally you come to a conclusion that it is a want and not a need. If not a month, try to give a break of at least a fortnight before going shopping again.
- Don’t vent out: Some people tend to use shopping as an excuse for feeling low. They vent their frustration out and feel better by going to shopping often. Keep reminding yourself that the mall isn’t a place to hang out or isn’t a place you go to when your mood is not good. The habit of impulse buying can only be controlled if you don’t let your mind be influenced by such things.
- Control your urges: It works in different ways for different people. Some people are tempted by watching shopping channels on TV so you can avoid that for starters. Leave your purse at home or go to window shopping after they have closed down. You could also not go to malls at all or go to roadside shops that will help you fight your urge of buying expensive things.
Thanks to credit cards and other facilities where you can delay payments, impulse buying is very much possible in today’s world. Impulse buying can easily damage your financial position before you even realise it is happening. Acting responsibly can go a long way in improving your finances.