I wanted to create this video because I used to be such an impulsive shopper when I was younger. I spent so much money and I wish I have known these tips before because I could have saved maybe thirty or forty thousand dollars in my twenties. So I hope that these tips can be useful to you. As always, with money things are a little bit different for everybody so take what you want from this video and leave the rest out. And before we begin, let me know in the comments below what is your biggest impulse purchase.
The one that you regret the most. I’m really curious to know – let me know in the comments below. Let’s begin. Tip number one – don’t shop when you’re emotional or when you’re really stressed. I think it’s so easy to use shopping as a way to feel better – as a quick pick-me-up… retail therapy. But the problem is shopping and retail therapy is not effective. It’s short-term – you’ll feel good for maybe a couple hours… maybe even a day or two but after that you’re back to your normal self. So I think retail therapy is prohibitively expensive if you’re an impulse shopper and it’s just a good idea to find other things to do to deal with those emotions. So let’s say you’re feeling sad – instead of going to the mall maybe talk to a friend, watch a funny movie on Netflix that you enjoy – do something else that doesn’t involve spending copious amounts of money.
And if you’re feeling stressed there are other things that you could do that don’t involve spending money. Go for a walk in the park. Go for a workout. Do some self-care at home. Things that you could do for free. Tip number two – don’t shop out of sheer boredom. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to the mall because I was bored. I thought I was only going to window shop and that window shopping quickly became real shopping. When you’re at the mall, you’re in a place of temptation and if you’re someone who has a tendency to purchase things impulsively it’s really hard not to buy things, so don’t put yourself in that position. Don’t go to the mall when you’re bored – find other things to do. So as an example if you’re an introvert – maybe journal writing, reading, watching a movie at home…
That might be something you could do when you’re bored. Or if you’re an extrovert, you could go out in the city and find free things to do. There’s always something to do for free in every city or town – just find those things to do and don’t go shopping. Because if you go shopping you’re probably going to spend money that you don’t need to spend. Tip number three – shop with intention and with a very specific list.
I’ve noticed that when I shop without a list, I tend to get carried away and I do make a lot more impulse purchases, but when I make a list and not just a generic list but a very specific list… I’m less likely to get carried away. Tip number four – when you’re shopping online, avoid creating an account and storing your credit card information. So a lot of times when you shop online, shops want us to create an account. That way you have the name, address and credit card information stored, so the next time you want to shop with them it’s just the matter of a click of a button and it becomes so easy to shop. The problem is if you are an impulse shopper, it’s a little too easy to shop. So if you want to avoid those impulse purchases, my suggestion is check out as a guest- not as someone who has an account.
By checking out as a guest you have to physically enter your name, your address and your credit card information and let me tell you, I have abandoned so many shopping carts in the past because I was too lazy to get my credit card out of my wallet. So there we go. If you’re an impulse shopper, this can act as a deterrent, so just try to avoid creating accounts and check out as a guest instead. Tip number five – embrace aspects of minimalism. I think out of all of the tips in this video the one thing that helped me the most is becoming more of a minimalist. I do recognize that it is not for everybody but at the same time we don’t need to completely become minimalists. Some of us may just want to embrace aspects of it. I think minimalism is a spectrum – we can all do it in our own way and if it can help you become a little more intentional, help you become a little more aware and mindful of your purchases – why not? If you’re interested in learning more about practical minimalism, I do have an e-book and workbook on it which I’m going to link in the description.
And don’t buy the workbook impulsively. I don’t want you to do that! Buy it if you really feel like it’s going to help you and it’s gonna add value to you, otherwise you don’t need to get it. Tip number six – try to buy from stores that have a return policy and keep the receipts. I can’t tell you the number of times I have purchased something and then I’ve quickly regretted it the next day and I couldn’t return it because store did not have a return policy or I lost the receipt or I took the tags off. So my suggestion is don’t take the tags off, keep your receipts for at least for 7 days and try to avoid buying things from places that don’t have a return policy.
My philosophy now is if it doesn’t have a return policy, I’m not buying it. I don’t buy things on final sale because that is how you end up buying things you don’t really need. Tip number 7 – sleep on the decision especially if the item is above $100. So I have a rule – if an item is above $100, I do not buy it the day I see it. If it’s at the mall or online I won’t buy it. I will sleep on it for at least a day if not two or three nights and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve completely forgotten about the item in two or three days. So give yourself a little time to think through that decision and who knows you might change your mind. Tip number eight – avoid joining email lists. A lot of times when you shop online or even in the store – stores will ask us for our email address in exchange for a coupon or something of that sort and the problem with that is while that coupon may seem very nice in the beginning they’re going to keep sending you emails again and again and you’re going to end up buying more things.
Things that you don’t need. So my suggestion is to unsubscribe from all of those email subscriptions so that you don’t have to face temptation all the time. I think for an impulse shopper the biggest thing you can do is remove the temptations. By removing the temptations you’re just not going to shop as much. Tip number nine – don’t shop with friends that push you to buy things that you don’t need.
Now we all have friends that help us make really good decisions – go shopping with them but then we also have friends that make us buy things that we don’t need. They kind of push us into impulsive purchases and they tell us that everything looks good on us… when in fact it really doesn’t. So don’t go shopping with those people. I actually bought a pink poofy wedding dress ten years ago. It was horrible. I got persuaded by my friends and my husband had a look at that dress and he was just like” oh my gosh what were you thinking? “. So thankfully that was not actually the wedding dress I wore on my wedding day but I learned a lot from that experience.
Do not go shopping with people who you don’t really trust in terms of their opinion and who push you into making bad decisions. Just avoid shopping with them. Tip number 10 – always check reviews for items that are above $50. So I’ve a rule – if an item is above $50 I won’t buy it until I check the reviews even if I’m in the store. I will take my phone out and I will try to check the reviews because this way I’m not making a purchase that is somewhat expensive without knowing everything about it. I think the thing with reviews is you’ve got to check both positive and negative. It’s so easy to just read the positive ones and think “hey this item is great”. No. Read the negative ones too have a balanced view and then make your decision. I have purchased a lot of things without checking reviews and then I deeply regretted it later, so try to avoid that. Stick to that rule whatever dollar amount it may be.
For you it might not be 50 – it could be a bit different but stick to that rule. Don’t buy it unless you checked the reviews. Tip number 11 – remind yourself of your financial goals before you go shopping. If you don’t have financial goals then I do suggest having some – just a number and what you’re saving it for. I think it can be very helpful in changing your mindset about money. I didn’t have financial goals before so I used to spend because I didn’t really care but now I do and I remind myself of my financial goals regularly and because of that I’m less likely to make impulse purchases.
So my suggestion is if you don’t have goals… sit down and think about what your goals might be. It could be something really simple- I want to save $5,000 for an emergency fund. Whatever it may be just write it down and think about it regularly so that you know what you’re trying to do and you’re going to be less likely to get carried away with your impulse purchases. Tip number 12 – re-evaluate what you already own the next time you’re shopping. So as an example let’s say I’m shopping for jeans and I see a nice pair of jeans… it’s very easy to get carried away thinking “hey it’s on sale. It looks good. I need it.” But then take a moment to re-evaluate whether or not you already own something that’s similar. Sometimes you actually have the exact same color at home and you don’t really need that extra pair. Tip number 13 – think about your worst impulse purchases and make a list.
I made a mental list of the worst impulse purchases I’ve made and that list really really helped me change my mindset. I realize how many impulse purchases I forgot about and once I made that list it reminded me of how much money I had spent and how much I deeply regretted those purchases. So if you’re someone who makes a lot of these impulse purchases just make a list and take it one step further. Put that list in your wallet so the next time you’re actually tempted to spend some money you’re going to have that list right in front of you. And maybe …maybe it will act as a deterrent and you might not end up making that impulse purchase. Tip number 14 – get to the root cause. If you have tried everything in this video as well as tips from other people and you’re still struggling with your impulse spending maybe it’s time to take a step back and figure out the root cause. It could be something like anxiety. It could be something like sadness.
It could be a multitude of different things but you need to figure out the root cause so you can work on a solution. If you need help, maybe it’s time to talk to a therapist. Tip number 15 -make it a game with a jar method. So this is something that I recently started and I’ve been enjoying it. So every single time I avoid an impulse purchase, I write down the item and the dollar amount and put it on a piece of paper and stick it in the jar. And then at the end of the month I look at all of the little pieces of paper in the jar and tally up the amount that I avoided spending. So last month I avoided spending two hundred and fifty dollars- which is not a small sum of money. It actually is quite a bit especially if you end up saving that much each month. So I’m going to continue doing this and hopefully by the end of the year I might have a couple thousand dollars saved up. This is just a fun little thing that you could do to reward yourself every single time you avoid an impulse purchase.