How I Quit Impulse Shopping

Train yourself to stop spending.

Growing up, I was taught to shop around for the best price. In fact, on weekends, my dad would take my sister and me to different stores with a pen and paper in hand to compare prices before we made a purchase. Now, 20 years later, I still pride myself on finding the best deals.

This begs the question: If money can’t buy happiness, why do so many people feel happy after they shop — especially if they think they got a bargain on a sale item?

Click to read more about how making a luxury purchase changed this woman’s attitude toward money.

Truly, though, no matter how great the deal is, sometimes you just don’t need to make that purchase at all. I often find myself justifying buying a new pair of shoes because they were on sale, or I was taking advantage of a BOGO (buy one, get one) offer. The worst of my impulse spending comes from makeup stores, where they seem to read my mind and place trial-size items that I’m itching to try right by the register. These little spending sprees add up over time and can break the bank, but it can be a hard habit to stop.

More on Spending Habits: 40 Money Habits That Can Leave You Broke

If you think you’re safe from spending because you don’t like to shop in stores, think again. Resisting the temptation of clicking a giant red bar that reads “50 percent off” can be a challenge.

All that said, I have created some simple rules that have helped me save money in-store and online. They might just help you too.

Related: 14 Online Shopping Hacks That Will Save You Money

  1. Give yourself time to think before making a purchase — but not in the store. Walk away. Place the item on hold, if you can, and give yourself time to think instead of immediately pulling out your credit card.
  2. Imagine the clothes you own and ask yourself: Do I already have this item, or something very similar? We are creatures of habit, and we tend to be drawn toward items very similar to what we already own. If your memory is not that great, take an actual photo on your phone of your closet and bring it along when you shop.
  3. When it comes to online shopping, block and unsubscribe from retailers you are tempted to make purchases from. Also, edit or clear your social media ad preferences (search online for many tutorials on this topic) so you won’t be tempted by ads that are magically tailored to your interests.
  4. Don’t shop when you are bored. In my experience, shopping can be a form of entertainment, which has led me to make purchases I didn’t need. Don’t do it just to kill time.
  5. Bring something in, take something out: If you don’t think you can live without that dress, or you fall in love with a pair of shoes you absolutely have to have, make it a mission to trade in or donate a clothing item for every new purchase. This will help keep your closet organized and updated, and you may make up the difference if you sell to a consignment store.

Click to read more about how to sell your clothes using sites like Poshmark and Tradesy.

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