8 tactics for dealing with impulsive spending

8 tactics for dealing with impulsive spending

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

It can be so tempting to add something straight to our basket and then check out. But often, we find that these things are the result of impulse buying. We’ve put together some tips to try to break the habit of shopping just for the sake of it.


Were all guilty of impulsive spending sometimes - having the urge to buy something and then later regretting it. We all have evidence of this in our homes and our wardrobes. At the time, it might feel like the right decision, but we often end up realising we would’ve been better off saving the money. Swhy do we keep doing it? If you want to resist the urge, we’ve put together some tips to stop impulsive spending.  

1. The 30 day rule  

The 30 day rule means you wait 30 days before you purchase an item. After 30 days, if you still want to buy it then you’ll know it’s not an impulse. The strategy works because it will show you whether you really need the item or not. Sometimes it only takes a day or two to realise we didn’t really want it after all.  

2. Make a list and stick to it 

Put together a shopping list next time you head outYou’ll be less tempted to buy things you don’t need. If you want a treat, put a treat on the list. Budgeting isn’t necessarily about depriving yourself of the things you really like.  

3. Try to identify emotional spending  

Try not to shop when youre feeling down. Sometimes it can feel like a certain purchase will make you feel better, but even if this is the case itll only be for a short while. If you think maybe the reason you’re buying something is for a short-term boost, then it’s better to put it back and save the money instead. It’s likely that you’ll only be happy with your new item for a short while. 

4. Leave your cards at home 

It may sound scary, but leaving your cards at home is a good way of making sure you only buy what you need. It forces you to stop and prioritise the most important purchases. When you pay on a card, it's easy to pay less attention to the total 

If you really want to stop spending on your card, then you could seal your cards in an envelope and hide them away, or give them to a friend you trust. However, make sure you don’t leave yourself without any form of spending. If youre having problems with credit card debt, then it’s better to try and resolve this first. 

5. Avoid the temptation of special offers 

You might think you’re saving money on deals, but often youre just buying things you wouldn’t have bought in the first place. If theyre not on the list, don’t put them in your basket. Supermarkets often advertise deals to get you to spend more. Becoming more aware of this will help you prioritise buying what you really need.  

6. Unsubscribe from email marketing 

If you keep receiving emails from retailers constantly promising brilliant offers and discounts, simply hit 'unsubscribe'. You probably weren’t even thinking about a new phone contract deal until that email arrived. Email marketing is designed to do exactly that - tempt you into purchasing or signing up to something. If you’re trying to cut back on impulse buying then these can emails can really trip you up, so unsubscribe or move them to your junk box.  

7. Make a savings goal 

Establishing a savings goal will give you a reason to talk yourself out of a purchase. If you keep giving in to impulsive buys, then a deposita holiday, or new car will take longer to save up for. Bear this in mind when considering buying something you don’t really need by asking yourself what you want more. If you resist an impulsive purchase, put the money into a savings jar and watch how quickly it mounts up. Saving could soon be your new impulse. 

8. Reframe your mind 

Resisting the instant gratification that comes from purchasing something spontaneous can be tough. Instead, consider it a challenge, if that helps. Think of a special item that you would really like or need, and then every time you resist an impulse buy, write down how much you just saved yourself.  

If you want to be better at saving, then you can read more about how saving can be fun. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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8 tactics for dealing with impulsive spending 8 tactics for dealing with impulsive spending