I was saving 70% of my earnings every month consistently but there comes December, the festive and holiday times. When my mind was prepared to enjoy every minute of the holidays. Although I am well aware of the financial principles, my resistance to spending weakened because of my happy mood. This led me to spending more money and reduced my savings percentage to 50%. This made me realise no matter how frugal you are, the immunity to impulse buying changes from time to time. This article will cover the actions to take to avoid impulsive buying and save money.
Why We Do Impulsive Buying
Analysing my impulsive buying behaviour, I came up with reasons why do keep impulsive buying.
- We are on sale
- Shopping is Exciting
- Peer Influence
Managing our own finances is called personal finance. Yes, it is personal, hence, yours and your family’s personal emotions plays a major role in your spending. What’s personally going on with you directly reflects in your spending habits.
The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.– Daniel Goleman
In my own example, I was so happy because of the holidays and holidays and it directly reflects in my spending with just treat yourself attitude.
One of my friends lost his mother, he was depressed and in an attempt to come out of the depression, he bought a brand new bike in debt.
Impulsive buying takes charge when you make decisions based on emotions. But buying stuff makes us feel better? Maybe, in the short-term but definitely hurts in the longer-term. In my friend’s example, he ended up selling his bike within a few months at a depreciated cost to repay the debt.
We are on Sale
Who does not like the sale? Isn’t it exciting to buy on a sale rather than paying full price? Most of the shoppers impulse buy when they believe they got a good deal. When you think you’re getting a good deal online, most likely you would go ahead and click to buy.
In my example, I received an email newsletter from one of the retailers with the subject “We are on upto 90% sale” with a click. I clicked on the link and was excited to see the price slashed by 90% and order stuff for £90. It was great. I bought it at 90% sale but it is the worst because I purchased something which I don’t really need only because it was on sale.
Just an email triggering our thoughts to buy on sale is exactly what the retailers want us to do. It is not that the retailers are on sale but we sold ourselves to their marketing tactics.
Shopping is Exciting
We love shopping because it is exciting and gives us pleasure for the moment. Shopping is no different to watching your favourite TV series because both activities release dopamine to tell your brain you are feeling happy.
When we shop we are excited because our mind visualises how you will use those products and how amazing it would be to use. This leads to impulse buying for short-term pleasure without giving any thoughts about long-term sequences.
Your friends, family, neighbours and sometimes even strangers can influence you which pulls the trigger on the impulse buying. At the beginning of December, a contractor came to fix my roof which was blown away due to a storm.
We had a casual conversation about holidays and our plans. He said that he was planning to do the shopping over the weekend. And then he asked me “have done your shopping”. This conversation impinged on me to buy something on my mind even when I do not have a plan to do so.
A neighbour who buys a new car or transforms their garden can unknowingly influence you to change your car or transform your garden as well. Peer influence can trigger your emotions to impulse buying.
Actions to take to Avoid Impulse Buying
So, we know what gets us to impulse buying. But how do we fix it? Below are the actions to take to avoid impulse buying.
Control Your Emotions to Avoid Impulse Buying
Controlling your emotions is the foremost action to take to avoid impulsive buying. Controlling your emotions not only helps to avoid impulse buying but increases the overall happiness of your life.
Happiness depends upon ourselves.– Aristotle
But controlling emotions is easier said than done. We will have to consistently train our mind to deal with it. I use meditation to train my mind to deal with my emotions. It is one of the best ways to deal with emotional impulses.
Mindful meditation has been discovered to foster the ability to inhibit those very quick emotional impulses.– Daniel Goleman
Handling your emotions is also an important skill to master to succeed in investing the money you saved in the stock market. Here are best ways to deal with the emotions when investing in the stock market.
Make a Shopping List
It is good to take advantage of the price cuts but buy only the items you really need. Create a shopping list whether you are shopping festive gifts, clothes or groceries and make a budget for total shopping.
The shopping list helps to focus on your needs and avoid buying anything that you do not want even though it is on sale. Challenge yourself to stick to the shopping list and the budget.
When you keep comparing what you have to others, you will never feel happy. Comparison leads to impulse buying and reduces overall satisfaction of our life. Comparing yourself with others will distract yourself from what you want to achieve and you will never be able to win in the comparison game.
Instead, be grateful for what you have and be thankful for that. This not only avoids impulse buying but increases overall happiness in our life.
Comparison is the thief of joy.– Theodore Roosevelt
Read Product Review
However, the product is but there will always be some negative reviews. Even, it may not truly reflect the quality of the product, those negative reviews make our impulse brain to think for a moment. Physiologically few bad reviews of the product easily create a negative impact even if there are hundreds of positive reviews of the same product. Capitalise on these negative reviews to avoid impulse behaviour.
Add to the Basket
Add all the items you think to buy to the basket and let it stay for a day or more. This helps to avoid the regret of not buying and also allows you the time to think about or even completely forget about it.
Unsubscribe from Newsletters
Retailers are getting smarter with the help of technologies such as AI. They target the customers based on what we search on the internet. Even they start to send reminders about the products added to the shopping basket. These marketing emails can easily make you click their link and you may end up impulse buying.
Unsubscribe from newsletters or marketing emails to avoid impulse buying. I personally unsubscribed from 10 retailer’s newsletters.
Remember your Financial Goals
When you impulse buy, it reduces the time it takes to reach your financial goals as it eats the money which should be saved for your financial goals. Every time you shop, help yourself by remembering the goals you want to achieve.
The best way to control impulse buying is to allow yourself some time to act on your impulsive emotion. The more the time you provide, the better the chance your impulse will subside and rethink about the purchase and remembering the goals.