Impulse shopping is something many people have fallen victim to at one point or another.  This can be anything from a Target run for milk that turned into you spending $200 or that late night purchase on HSN.  In fact, according to a survey from the crowdsourced shopping platform Slickdeals, Impulse shopping during the current pandemic has jumped up by 18% from $155.03/month to $182.98/month.  Just think of all the great things you can do with that money.  Invest, save for a vacation, put it towards your retirement savings etc. So how can you stop impulse shopping?  Read on for our key tips.

What are the reasons for impulse shopping?

So why is impulse shopping such a thing for people.  Well there are some key reasons:

  • It is being driven by your emotions – When things are happening in your life that cause stress or any other negative feelings, that can show up in your money habits. We have all heard the term “retail therapy” as a way to cure those blues. So the next time you are feeling the urge to buy some new jeans, pause and see what is driving that want.
  • Your past experiences play a role – If your parents did not teach you about personal finance as a child/teen, this is typically the reason why people claim they handle money the way they do.
  • You are enticed by the idea of getting a good deal – Sales are everywhere and who doesn’t love a good sale. Free shipping?  That is music to any shopper’s ears.  But what is it all really?  Marketing!  So if you truly can’t afford something, you need to stay away from sales.

How To Stop Impulse Shopping


stop impulse shopping

1. Stick to a budget

If you don’t have a budget, there is your first big personal finance mistake.  A budget is crucial to proper money management.  If you don’t know where your hard earned money is going, how will you ensure you have enough for all your needs.  This includes not just groceries but money for your retirement savings and that important emergency fund.  So lets assume you have a budget.  The only way for it to work for you is for you to stick to it. If you don’t have the money for something, you just can’t spend it.  It is that simple.

2. Don’t deny yourself a little fun

So how does fun fit into the idea of not spending outside of your budget?  Well, it means you need to add in a line item for “fun stuff”.  This can be any amount of money you feel is okay to spend but also keep you in check with your budget. So the next time you are in a store and something catches your eye, you don’t have to feel guilty about buying it.  That is of course if it does not go over your spending amount.  The idea here is that you can still allow yourself certain purchases.

3. Don’t spend for 30 days

This one is pretty straightforward and will stop impulse shopping in the bud, at least for 30 days.  So make a no spending list and put it where you will see it.  For 30 days you can’t make any purchases from your list.  When those 30 days are up, see if you really still want whatever items you wanted to purchase.  You may find you don’t.

4. Put away the credit cards

If you find yourself reaching for your credit cards to make purchases you probably shouldn’t be making, put them out of sight.  Take them out of your wallet and put them in a Ziploc and store them somewhere you won’t be tempted to use them.  This could be in a safe or even in the actual freezer!  Don’t worry, this will not damage your cards. This will help stop impulse shopping real fast.

5. Calculate how much you will need to work

When it comes to purchases, you should always determine how much you need to work in order to buy whatever item you are thinking about buying. What may happen is you will find that you feel your time is worth too much to spend on that item.

6. Stay away from your favorite stores

Whether you shop in person or online, it is too tempting not to want to purchase something.  So in order to avoid spending what you may not have, it is best to stay away from your favorite retailers altogether. Unsubscribe or pause any emails you get from retailers and of course stay out of the mall.