Impulse shopping and buying things you just don't need is unfortunately something that probably everyone has done at some point in their lives. I know that before I practiced frugal living, I was a rather wasteful person, I hate to think of it now actually.
You know the feeling when as you stand at the checkout cue waiting for your turn and you notice the rather attractive and reasonably priced item just sitting there in the display stand.
It seems to be almost forcing you to look at it and the longer you look at it the more you want it. STOP right there, you are about to succumb to the evils of impulse shopping and the cunning marketing tools of the retailer.
Reasons not to impulse buy:
It's a shock isn't it? Just think what you could have done with that money in your new frugal lifestyle.
For many people shopping is fun. Its something we do to relieve stress and to give us that feel good factor. It can be likened to our primitive hunting and foraging instincts; we go out and wander around the shops searching for something that will satisfy that need.
Unfortunately only too often we find that once we get home with the item the good feelings have worn off and we are left with something that we don't really need and have spent unnecessary money.
Of course sometimes impulse shopping is not always a bad thing. If you spot a great deal on an item you would normally buy but just don't need at the moment, go ahead and stock up.
You are saving money in the long run, but only if you would normally use the item.
Retailers know we like to impulse buy and they do everything they can to separate us from our hard earned cash at every opportunity.
But as you practice frugal living yourself and become more aware of their tactics, you become prepared for their onslaught and are more capable of resisting their temptations.
Watch out for:
- Placing relatively small, cheap and attractive items near the checkout till.
- Placing more expensive versions of products on middle eye level shelves.
- Placing everyday items such as bread and milk in the furthest corner of the shop, forcing you to walk past other goods.
- Changing the layout of the store, so that you have to spend longer in the shop.
So we know what impulse shopping is and why we succumb to it, but what can we do to stop ourselves wasting our money on these unnecessary items if the retailers are so cunning. Easy: be cunning yourself, plan ahead and always be prepared for those little temptations.
Here are a few tips to help you resist spending your money:
- Unless absolutely required, never take your credit card with you for everyday shopping trips.
- Make a list of the items you need and make it a rule not to buy anything else. If it's not on the list, it's not coming home.
- Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. It's amazing just how much extra you will buy.
- Take something to read if there is a long wait at a checkout, this is great for taking your mind off of those checkout teasers.
- If you see something you like but had not planned on buying, go home and sleep on it. This is the best way to really determine if you really want the item or if it was just a whim.
This is one of my favourite frugal plans and it has saved me lots of money in the past.
- If shopping is your main recreational hobby FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. Only go shopping when you need to buy something and keep those grocery trips down to only once a week at the very most.
- Make a budget of just how much you can afford to spend on incidentals every month and stick to that budget. After all it's no fun if you deny yourself everything, it's all about frugal shopping and knowing your limits.
If while doing the weekly shop you find yourself doing some impulse shopping, place these EXTRA items into the baby seat area (if it's free). Then when you get to the checkout you can review these items with a fresh eye and make the final decision about buying them or not. I always end up putting things back at this stage as that initial want factor has diminished.
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