5 Budgeting Tips For An Impulsive Shopper

Young attractive woman behind the wall of shoppingThere are a lot of triggers and factors for a person to become an impulsive shopper and in an economy driven by consumer spending – impulsive buying is not a great trait to have. As you go about your day, the factors around you are encouraging you to spend and the challenge lies on you to take control and moderate your spending.

As Census.gov shares, the estimated sales for retail e-commerce in the US from January to March of 2016 was at around $92.8 billion. This was almost 4% more than the last quarter of 2015 which basically paints a picture of increasing economic activity. But at the very core, it also suggests that people are buying more and more products.

This can mean that they are getting better in managing their finances or enjoying an increase in their income. But for those that are already having a hard time managing their expenses because of their impulsive behaviour, this can be a challenge. The lure to keep on buying and spending on things you do not actually need is there.

Impulsive buying habits will wreck your household budget, keep you away from whatever financial goals you have for the future and even put a dent in relationships that matter to you. It might not be evident at first but as you chip away and spend mindlessly, you will feel how that ripples out to other areas of your life.

How to Budget If You’re an Impulsive Shopper

If you know by heart that you have a problem with your impulse buying behaviour, here are a few things that can help you in your journey. This can help  

  • Stay away from credit cards. If you already know that you have a hard time curbing your shopping desires, the last thing you need is a credit card that will give into your every desire. The credit limit is your only hurdle and as soon as you reach that with impulsive purchases, you are already in trouble. This is not to say that you get all your credit cards and start cutting them up one after the other. This can also have an adverse effect on your credit score. What you can do leave your cards at home and just carry one but only for emergencies. This helps you manage the way you use your cards and keep you out of financial trouble.
  • Explore using a prepaid card. One way you can manage the amount you spend on shopping is to use a prepaid card. Nasdaq.com shares that at around 2014, more than 50% of American adults have some form of prepaid card with them. It is not as sexy as a credit card but when your financial future is on the line, sexiness and how other people perceive you should be the last thing on your mind. One thing prepaid cards have going for them when helping an impulsive shopper like you is that when there is no more balance on the card, you cannot simply charge the item. It forces you to budget and be more aware of the items you are buying. This is putting your shopping cash money in a card and sticking to that amount.
  • Enroll recurring bills and expenses in auto debit. You can also do this with target savings every month such as the ones for your reserve funds or even your retirement fund. The idea here is to get as much of what you need out of your account even before you get any ideas on using them as shopping money. This way, when you look at it, you will only see what is really leftover and it forces your hand to budget what you have.
  • Have a separate account for your shopping needs. This is one way to put a cap on= being an impulsive shopper because you literally have a limited amount you can use in shopping. The problem is when you use your card, you might not stop until you max it out and there might be times this is not enough to stop you. If you use an account connected to you savings account, you might just be surprised that you burned through years of savings with just a few hours in the mall. If you separate the account you use for shopping and put only a certain amount every month, you force yourself to budget and work around what you have.
  • Find a different hobby. This might not necessarily be a budgeting tip but it can help you draw your attention away from mindlessly shopping for things you might not need the next day. You can try low-cost activities like engaging in exercise activities. You would only need a nice pair of running shoes when you decide to take up running. You probably already have one lying around the house. You might also want to take up baking or photography where over time, you can even earn from these activities. Rather than waste money as an impulsive shopper, you get to add more to your budget.

Here is a tip from a recovering spender:

Situations where you need to walk away

As you try and work on improving your finances and turning a new leaf from being an impulsive shopper to an thinking consumers, here are a few scenarios you need to keep a close eye on. These will put your back against the wall and make it harder for you to get a grip on your finances.

  • Emotional purchases. When you already know that you are an impulsive shopper, it is not a good idea to go out with credit card on hand and start shopping when you are in an emotional high. This means that you are either you are too happy or sad because these can muddle your judgement. This can make you feel like you can buy anything and your emotional character will make you spend than what you can afford. Be on guard in mixing your emotions with your purchase decisions.   
  • Being in the company of impulsive buyers. It would not help your case if  you know within yourself that you are an impulsive shopper and you still surround yourself with people who has the same disposition in life. The last thing you need is people telling you that it is okay to buy that new dress or shoes even if  you do not need it. You need to surround yourself with people who can help you curb your desire to spend and remind you of your goal to manage your finances better.
  • Lowering your standards. When you start lowering your standards and compromising on what you can and cannot buy, things will start going south. If you already have a guideline on what constitutes an emergency purchase on your card but you see that new sneakers in the window display, start to convince yourself that it is an emergency. It is an emergency that you need to have it to look good when you are with your friends. You need to keep yourself in check and make sure that you are upholding your own standards.

It is hard to manage your finances when you know that you are an impulsive shopper. There are ways to address this and situations to be aware of but the real solution starts from within yourself. You need to have the desire to change your ways and build a better financial future for you and your family.