My daughter heads to Kohl's to buy a new pair of jeans and comes home with a pair of jeans, a belt, and three shirts. "There was a great sale!" she explains to her confused father.
"I picked up this home repair book on the way out of Lowe's," my husband says later with delight. We already had a similar book in our home library, but he seemed to have forgotten.
We all make impulsive purchases. Usually they is always something on sale or something near the check-out lane. My husband had a lawn business during his seminary years. After a long day, he was hot and thirsty and stopped every afternoon at 7-11 for a Gatorade. This added up quickly to more than our budget could handle. Solution? We bought Gatorade powder at Sam's Club and he took it in a thermos, saving us lots of money in return.
Figure out what tempts you to spend impulsively. Once you find this out, it will keep you spending responsibly.
Make Shopping Lists
Shopping with a list will help you to avoid impulsive spending, but only if you are careful to stick to your list. Making a list can change your financial life. You can make a list and then edit it before you even get to the store. Remember that the opposite of being impulsive is to be planned and purposeful. Decide what you need before you are face to face with the temptation to buy something you don't really need.
Use Cash Rather than Credit or Debit Cards
Impulsive spending can lead to debt, especially if we pull out our credit cards when we decide at the last minute to make a purchase.
Shop for Everything at Once
This is my best weapon to avoid impulsive spending. I try to take care of as much as possible in a single shot. The other day, I went to Khol's to get Hunter a birthday present, so I decided to buy all the birthday presents I needed for the month of August. I came home with several clearance sale items for friends and family members. I had planned to shop for all the birthdays at once, keeping me too busy to even notice something that I could buy for myself.
Okay, I actually did find three shirts, but I put them back. After all, learning to stop impulsive spending is a process. We work at it, fall down, and get back up and try again. Don't give up the fight against this bad habit. Together we can do it!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)