Most of us have fallen for the excitement of an impulse purchase. Here’s the psychology behind it and ways to curb the urge.
What is an Impulse Buy?
An impulse buy could be any purchase you have made without a prior plan. Whether it is the candy you suddenly add to your cart at the checkout line, or the online browsing that led to you spending on things you don’t really need, all these purchases can be termed as impulse buys.
Experts will tell you that if you want to stop spending unnecessarily, you can start by unsubscribing from emails, delete credit card information on your browser, and block websites. This trick may work for many; however, it is not always the case.
If you want to ensure that you curb the impulse every time you are browsing the web, you need to try understanding the reason behind your habits. Trying to inculcate long-lasting habits will go a long way in changing the way you shop.
Why does it happen?
Broadly speaking, impulse buying is a result of three factors: emotions, past, and we think we are getting a great deal. Emotions are a significant factor when it comes to what we buy. Often, what is happening to us personally will show up in our money habits too. The term “retail therapy” is one such example. The moment we are feeling low, or even elated about something good that happened, more often than not, shopping seems to be the answer.
Often, people use the state of their household when they were growing up or how their parents handled money as two reasons that they are prone to impulse buying. If you try to think and analyse how money was handled in your home when you were younger, you will be able to understand the reason behind your beliefs about money. Another important factor is the word “sale”. You feel you will never get another great deal like the one on your screen. This leads to a huge chunk of impulse buys.
How to stop impulse buying?
Before laying out steps and trying to follow them, you need to understand what leads you to make an impulsive purchase. You need to remind yourself to be conscious of your decision-making process. It is also a good idea if you try to train your brain to give importance to long-term gains and earn rewards for the present day.
Make a budget and ensure you stick to it. You need to decide how much money to allot for every need and how much you need to keep aside. The most important part is to stick to the plan.
While you need to stick to a budget after having made one, you also need to allow yourself a certain amount to spend. Keep fixed amounts every month for fun spending. This could be a spontaneous buy when you visit the mall next, but not an impulse buy, since you have budgeted the amount in your monthly expenses.
Wait for a day or more before you make a purchase. If something triggers the need for an impulse buy, give yourself a day or so before making that purchase. This will help you calm down and get a fresh perspective. You can also make a note of all potential purchases cropping up during the week. Then pick a day to sort through them and decide what is essential and what isn’t.
Small steps like these will help you to train your brain to think before buying something.