Liberate Yourself From Impulse Spending

Wherever you go, retailers are trying to get you to buy more and spend more. If you want to stick to your budget and avoid purchases that you later regret, there is hope. Try these simple steps before, during and after your next shopping spree.

Steps To Take Before and After Shopping

1. Shop on a full stomach. Eating first has always been an effective way to spend less on groceries and it works on other items too. You think more clearly and feel less pressured when you’re well nourished.

2. Make a list. Etch your purpose firmly into your mind. You may still decide to pick up unexpected bargains, but you’ll be less likely to wander around gathering random stuff.

3. Reduce your exposure to advertising. Hit the unsubscribe button on those junk emails. Throw catalogs directly into the recycling bin. Go do some leg lifts while TV commercials are playing.

4. Conduct an inventory. Take a good look at what you already own. Maybe there’s an old desk in your attic you can spruce up with some paint rather than buying a new one. Pondering ill-advised purchases will also reinforce your determination not to add to them.

5. Research prices. Learn what constitutes a good value. That way you’ll be less vulnerable to extravagant claims. A jacket that’s marked 80 percent off may have started out with an inflated price.

6. Exercise your mind and body. A Washington State University Study found that students who performed regular mental or physical exercise for as little as two weeks were less tempted to engage in impulse buying. Take a daily walk or read more books.

7. Focus on nonmaterial rewards. Seek gratification from helping others, spending time with loved ones and improving your mind. It will make the mall look less interesting.

Steps To Take While Shopping

1. Limit your browsing. At the mall or online, make your purchases and leave. The longer you linger, the more items you’ll be tempted to buy.

2. Shield your eyes at the cash register. Grocery store tactics are spreading. Checkout lines everywhere are now surrounded with candy and other last minute temptations. Distract yourself by checking your phone messages or planning what to make for dinner.

3. Pay in cash. Studies show that customers who use cash spend less than those who use credit cards. Cash makes you more aware of how much money you’re forking over.

4. Give yourself time to cool off. Slow down and give yourself time to think before deciding to complete a purchase. The bigger the price tag, the more time you may want to devote getting it right.

5. Be skeptical about limited offers. Some marketing campaigns try to make sales by talking about limited time offers and scarce quantities. Vermeer’s are rare. Nail polish and sneakers are not.

6. Remind yourself of the disadvantages to any purchase. It’s easy to get caught up in how much you want that shiny new gadget, so keep the whole picture in mind. Most products are very temporary and you may have more important uses for the money.

7. Take along a friend. Shopping with family and friends may provide you with more objective feedback than you’ll get from a salesperson working on commission. A second opinion comes in handy when you’re trying to make a sound decision.

Protect your financial well being and get more pleasure out of your possessions by becoming a smart shopper. With a little thought and practice, you’ll learn to manage your impulses and feel good about your purchases even after you get them home.