Trying to manage impulsive buying behavior might be a difficult challenge especially if you have been used to it all your life. Change is part of life and this is definitely something that you have to consider if you want to reach your financial goals in life. There are a number of reasons why you could be wrapped up in a pattern of impulsive buying behavior.
For one, you believe that you are able to save money by taking advantage of discounts being given by your favorite retailer. You don’t even care if you really need that item or not. The fact that it was on sale is a clear sign for you to just grab it. This is one of the reasons why you need to take a serious look at your buying behavior.
To make matters even more challenging holiday shopping is just around the corner and there will be temptations to shop left and right. From your weekends at the mall to the websites you visit, you would really need to get a good grip and manage impulsive buying behavior. If not, you are about to put your finances in peril before the end of the year.
And even after that, if you continue on splurging and throwing caution to the wind as you shop, you will be hard pressed to meet your life goals in time. You might be forced to work longer hours just to pay off bills. You might even be confronted with the fact that you would have to work well past your retirement age just to have enough in your nest egg. If these are the types of situations you want to avoid, here are a few things to consider to help you manage your impulsive buying behavior.
Only go shopping when you have a list
This sounds to be a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many people actually shop without knowing that they want to get. What makes this more of a challenge is the fact that a lot more people are shopping online. From a research done by Pew Internet, they found out that eight out of ten Americans are shopping online.
You might only be surfing the net for research purposes for school, work, or business. As you surf from one site to another, you start to click on those online ads which seem to know exactly what you have been looking for. You look at the ad, click on the site and sooner or later, you are starting to pay for the items with your credit card. This is not a great start as you try to manage impulsive buying behavior.
Having a list of the things you need to buy will help you put your shopping into perspective. Are you going to start buying for your holiday gifts? Then have a list of people you want to give presents to and what you want to give them. That way, even if you find yourself shopping online or in the mall, you get to stick to a list.
Procrastination can be a great friend
Forbes recently shared that there are a lot of millennials who procrastinates when it comes to working with financial experts. There are times when having second thoughts and putting of major decisions can be an advantage and shopping can be one of them. Before you go ahead and check out items in your online cart or whip out your credit card in the mall, walk away.
What this does is it gives you enough time to really think about the purchase. Is it something you really need or were you simply lured in by sale promotions? If you can walk away and forget about it, you might not actually need it. Walking away can actually give you time to process the purchase giving you enough lead time to really think it through.
Manage impulsive buying behavior by paying with cash
One of the oldest tricks in the book is using cash whenever you go out and shop for things you need. For one, using cash forces your hand to stick to a budget. Unlike a credit card where you simply swipe, sign, and charge the expenses to your account, cash is pretty different. If you run out of it, you cannot buy anything anymore. This makes you think twice about buying items you do not need.
Another benefit of shopping with cash is that you see actual money leaving your wallet. As you hand over actual cash, it might make you think twice about the purchase. Knowing how you worked hard for that amount of cash you are carrying, it forces you to make smarter choices.
Do not shop tired or hungry
This is another great tip when you are trying to manage your expenses. As you go out and shop, it is best to do it on a full stomach and well-rested. The reason for this is that it helps you make better money decisions. When you are hungry, you tend to become easily irritated and when that happens, your judgment could become faulty as you look for things to buy. You simply grab the first thing you see just so you can get it done and over with. This is not the way when you want to manage impulsive buying behavior.
The same thing when you are shopping and you feel tired. You wouldn’t have the energy to go from one shop to another and compare prices. You might not even look at the price tag anymore. One area where shopping tired might work for you is when you are buying shoes. As you try on the shoes after a long day, your feet get to be more sensitive and you can really feel the fit. Other than that, it is best to go shopping well-rested.
Control your emotions
Apart from resting up and making sure you get to have something to eat before shopping, one other thing you need to keep an eye out for is your emotions. It can be financial stress that you have been carrying for quite some time. It can even be problems at home or in the office that you can’t seem to shake off.
If you go on and shop for things you need while having these emotions, you might have a hard time thinking straight. This is also one trigger of retail therapy where you believe that shopping for things that you want can make you feel better. It might give you a temporary high but as soon as you receive your monthly statements, you are back to square one.
Look for something else to do to manage impulsive buying behavior
As you try and divert your attention away from destructive financial behavior, you can try and simply channel your efforts into something else. Why not explore income-positive hobbies so you can add on to your monthly income. Doing so helps you do the things you love to do and you get paid to do it. As you spend time with your hobbies and improve on it, you get to command higher pay and take home gibber income.
It is not easy to manage impulsive buying behavior and the road ahead is tough but you just have to commit to it and remember the common pitfalls that await you. Just keep at it and sooner or later, you will see the difference it can make in your finances.