Impulse shopping can be a challenging habit to break, but with the right strategies, it’s definitely achievable.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of eight helpful “hacks” to help us all of it spend less and save more
Here are eight unique life hacks to help you overcome the urge to shop impulsively:
1. Wish List Waiting
Before making a major purchase, add the item to a wish list and wait for a set period (like 30 days). Often, the urge to buy fades, helping you distinguish between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’
While a 20-day or 30-day waiting list makes great sense for major purchases (furniture, tech, vacations, even cars), for smaller impulse buys, there is a shorter hack to use…
2. The 48-Hour Rule
Implement a mandatory 48-hour waiting period before purchasing any non-essential items. If you can
This cooling-off period can significantly reduce impulsive buys. Even waiting 24 hours or 60 minutes have been proven to change our impulse—but the longer that better.
3. Budget Buddy System
Pair up with a friend or family member as your ‘Budget Buddy.’ Share your purchasing plans with them to get a second opinion and stay accountable.
If you’re in a store and tempted to make a purchase, send a text with a photo to help you get that second opinion. If you’re too nervous to send the text because you know what they’re going to say already… well then, you’ve already got your answer 🙂
4. Unsubscribe and Unwind
Unsubscribe from marketing emails and catalogs. Reducing exposure to tempting offers and advertisements can lessen the temptation to shop on impulse.
Every day for the next seven days, click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of every reputable retail outlet sending you marketing emails. You’ll be surprised how quickly they begin to slow down and influence you less all day, every day.
5. Cash-Only Challenge
Use only cash for a certain period. Physically handing over cash, rather than swiping a card, can make the cost of purchases feel more real and discourage overspending.
This is a principle made famous by Dave Ramsey. Not everyone believes there is merit in this idea, but I’ve never met a single person who didn’t say making the switch didn’t change their spending habits.
6. Essential Spending Diary
Keep a diary of all your essential expenditures. This record-keeping helps in understanding spending patterns and curbing unnecessary expenses.
Every night before you go to bed, write down everything you bought that day and how much it cost. You might be surprised how quickly your impulse buys add up to real money.
7. Mindful Merchandise Meditation
Practice mindfulness before shopping. Take a moment to meditate and reflect on whether the purchase aligns with your values and financial goals.
Learn to ask yourself a few questions before buying anything online or in a store: Is this something I need? Is this money I should be using for something more important? What would happen if I didn’t buy this right now—can I wait 48 hours?
8. Gratification Game Plan
Set personal goals and reward yourself for not giving in to impulse shopping. These rewards can serve as a positive reinforcement. The goal here isn’t to save a bunch of money avoiding impulse purchases just so you can spend it all on a really big impulse purchase. The goal is to save your money on impulse purchases so it can be directed toward something that would be truly valuable in your life.
By incorporating these hacks into your daily life, you can gain better control over your spending habits, leading to improved financial health and a more mindful approach to consumption.
That’s not to say, of course, this will be super-easy. Habits can be hard to break. But with focus and desire, it is totally possible.
So, are you ready to tackle impulse shopping? Pick a few of these life hacks and put them into practice today.
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