There’s a thrill you get when you spend money on yourself. Sometimes, you spend it on things you don’t need just to feel good. When you give little to no thought to it before making that purchase, it is called impulse buying.
Wikipedia defines impulse buying as “an unplanned decision to buy a product or service, made just before a purchase”.
We have all at one point in our lives made an impulse purchase, but for some of us, it’s a regular routine that can affect our finances. You might not totally consider it a problem, but let’s talk about the 7 ugly truths about impulse buying and how to avoid it.
1. Impulse buying is emotion-driven
There are times when we tend to take certain actions based on our emotions. For some people, some of these actions are spending decisions.
A lot of people tend to impulse buy when they get excited about some things e.g. a promotion (This you?👀 )
While you deserve to reward yourself for certain things, it is important to be reasonable about your purchases.
Excitement isn’t the only emotion that can trigger impulse buying. A number of emotions can cause us to either spend more or less without planning.
Ian Zimmerman, an experimental psychologist revealed that anxiety can also cause us to impulse buy to try and make ourselves feel better.
2. Childhood experiences can influence impulse buying
We take a large part of what we learn as children into adulthood. This includes our relationship with money.
If you grow up in a family where you are allowed to buy whatever you want when you want to, you’re most likely going to grow to become an impulsive buyer.
This is because you have been raised with a mindset that allows you to buy things without putting much thought into it.
This is not to say that only people like this turn out to be an impulsive buyers.
Some people are impulsive buyers because they don’t want to say no to themselves the way their family denied them of certain things in the past.
Trace your spending habit back to your past and what it was like growing up to figure out what makes you impulse buy and how you can stop.
3. Discounts are a major trigger for impulse buying
Price slashes, seasonal promotions and bundled offers tend to encourage impulse buying.
You might have stumbled onto a site just to window shop, but now you’re ready to spend because you spotted some discount deals.
Whether that item is necessary or not, as long as the price is slashed you are determined to immediately make your purchase.
If this is you, learn to ask yourself this before every purchase “Do I really need this or do I just want it”.
4. Impulse buying has its consequences
I recently bought a dress to attend a wedding because I felt like I had nothing else to wear.
I didn’t think too much about how that simple action would affect my finances for the rest of the month. It was worth it at the moment, but it definitely took a toll on my pocket.When we fail to come to terms with the consequences of impulsive spending, we end up with a lot of regrets. It's important to not jump into buying things without thinking about the future. Click To Tweet
If you save money instead of spending it every time you get the urge to give in to impulse buying, you will be rolling in cash (that you can then spend responsibly).
5. Peer pressure causes us to impulse buy
What a lot of us don’t realize is how pressure from friends, colleagues, and people around us generally drive us to spend money impulsively.
It can be on anything from a trendy product to an expensive lunch that wasn’t budgeted for.
Next thing, you’re shelling out money to feel among.
6. Social media is another trigger to avoid
A major percentage of our spending is largely influenced by social media. Twitter, Instagram, and the rest encourage us to buy products we don’t need.
A lot of online vendors also run sponsored ads. Social media platforms then push those products in our faces because the algorithm is built in a way that helps them understand and promote what we want based on the content we engage with.
This is a surefire way to tempt people to buy.
7. FOMO can dry up your pocket
We desperately want the approval of people using certain products so we end up rushing to purchase the item. The fear of missing out is what causes us to act this way.
We want to be a part of this small or large group of people that are talking about said product. Even when it doesn’t fit our lifestyle or budget.
A lot of people tend to impulse buy when it comes to buying Apple products, for instance. There’s a FOMO that comes with not having the latest iPhone or AirPods, so people purchase them without a rationale.
How to Avoid it
1. Take your time before making that purchase
Don’t rush into making purchases without figuring out how essential the item is to you in the moment or in the long run. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages first. The more you do this, the less you get tempted to impulse buy.
2. Create a budget you can stick to
It’s important to have a budget that works for you. Create a fun budget that allows you to spend on yourself once in a while. You can take a hint from these 5 budgeting mistakes you’re probably making as a millennial to learn more about the dos and don’ts of budgeting. This will help you cut down on random impulse purchases.
3. Invest in your financial education
Financial literacy is an important part of getting your finances in order. It gives you a better understanding of how to approach managing your personal finances. You can invest in yourself by taking beginner courses on finance on Youtube, Coursera etc.
4. Limit your use of social media
Cutting down the amount of time you spend on social media will reduce the amount of content you consume from those online vendors or stores you cannot resist.
Take time off social media as it will not only save you money but also give you more time to focus on other things
5. Join a No-Spend Challenge
You can choose to join a no-spend challenge with friends or create one for yourself. Start being accountable for how you spend money.
Decide on a week or weekend that you can choose to spend no money at all. This works well if you have food at home and don’t need to leave the house during that period.Asides from a no-spend challenge, if you're an impulse buyer, don't go shopping alone, so you can be held accountable. Choosing to carry just the exact amount you need to spend and leaving your debit card at home also helps. Click To Tweet
After reading this, would you consider yourself an impulse buyer?
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