Feeling a little envious of a friend’s new purchase, be it a handbag, holiday or car, is probably a little more common than we care to admit, but don't let that envy coerce you into spending money that you really can’t afford. Impulse buys are all well and good at the time, however, avoiding them and having more money in your pocket is a much better feeling long term. So, if you’re prone to purchasing on a whim, here are 10 strategies to help you save, not spend.
Wait a week
Waiting a week (30 days if it's an expensive purchase), won't dampen your enthusiasm for something that you really want, however, it will give you time to consider if it’s a necessary purchase or to find out if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.
One in, one out
When considering buying a new item of clothing, pair of shoes or even a piece of kitchen equipment, force yourself to throw out or give away a similar item. If the new item isn’t replacing something that is worn out, then you don't really need it.
Stay away from the shops
If you’re easily tempted into spending money, then either stay away from the shopping centre, or if you have to go for essentials, take only enough cash to pay for what you need. Similarly, don't go online if shopping over the internet is just too tempting.
Rely on layby
If there’s something that you think you simply can't do without or the deal is ‘just too good to miss’, layby it. This way not only will you get the satisfaction of securing a deal, you’ll also have a cooling off period if you decide that you really don't need your new purchase. You will lose your layby fee but it’s often minimal compared to what you would otherwise have spent on an unnecessary purchase.
Save your receipt
If you do slip and make a purchase, place the item in the cupboard, without taking it out of the bag and save the receipt. If it’s still there in a week or two, and the store’s policy allows you to return it, then that’s what you should do.
Edit your junk mail
If you’re signed up to email notifications of sales and specials, unsubscribe. There’s nothing more tempting to an impulse shopper than an ‘unbeatable deal’ just for you.
Frame your worst purchase
OK, we don't mean literally, but carrying a photo of the worst thing you've ever bought on impulse in your wallet or purse can serve as a timely reminder at the checkout.
Don't be afraid to change your mind
Even if there’s a huge queue of people behind you, don’t be afraid even at the last minute to tell the cashier you’ve changed your mind. No amount of huffing and eye-rolling should guilt you into an unnecessary purchase.
Many studies have shown that the act of handing over cash, rather than a credit card, makes shoppers more aware of what they’re buying and whether or not they can really afford to make the purchase.
If you simply enjoy the feeling of having something that you haven't had before, get some friends together and enjoy a swap. Simply get them to bring along good quality clothes, kitchen goods, books, bags, etc. and trade away. Not only do you get to clear out some of your previous unwanted impulse buys, you can also have a fun social gathering that can become a regular event.
What’s your tip for avoiding impulse buys?
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