We’ve all been there. As an impulsive buyer, you’ve been browsing online for a present for a friend and you just can’t resist that gorgeous dress for yourself. Or you’re doing the supermarket shop and that bottle of expensive red wine you love finds its way into your trolley. Supermarkets, shopping malls and the internet are all cleverly designed to entice us to make impulse purchases so it’s not surprising that many of us find it extremely difficult to constantly resist temptation.
And what do we impulse buy the most? It’s not clothing, shoes, gadgets or household goods, as you might expect. It is in fact food and groceries. In a recent survey of 2,000 consumers by Slickdeals.net in the US 71% of interviewees admitted to unplanned purchases of food items. Initially that struck me as surprising although it makes sense when you think that grocery shopping is an activity which we all have to do on a regular basis.
Deals also prove to be hard to resist. 85% of those questioned said that they impulse buy to take advantage of a deal or discount. Bargain purchases are justified if you are buying something that you truly want or need but marketing gurus are very adept at making us think we are getting a good deal on something when in actual fact we could quite happily live without it altogether.
The problem with impulse buying is that it can quickly mount up. The Slickdeals study revealed that on average those interviewed made three impulse purchases every week which added up to total unnecessary expenditure of $450 every month or $5,400 every year.
Let’s just think about that $5,400 figure for a minute. Just imagine what else you could do with it… zero your credit card, buy a luxury holiday or a new car or maybe splurge on a no holds barred Christmas to remember forever. However, you think you could better use the money you spend on impulse purchases, you will probably agree that reining in the unplanned spending is a good idea. So how do you do it?
Spending mindfully is the key. When you’re tempted to splurge on that pair of shoes or new phone think first about whether you really need it. Just pausing to reflect on that and imagining what else you could be doing with that money may be enough to make you put the item back on the shelf (real or virtual) and move on. Another tip is to refocus your spending energy elsewhere by finding great deals on the necessities you actually need to buy. And when it comes to food shopping, that old cliché is right – never never do it when you’re hungry!
Each time you resist the temptation to make an impulse purchase, why not set aside the money you would have spent? Seeing your savings rise could give you the resilience to keep going when you experience moments of weakness at the shops. If you do, maybe this time next year you will have $5,400 sitting in your savings account. So what would you do with it?
One of the biggest excuses people use for not saving for retirement is that they can’t afford it. Could ditching your impulse buying habit mean that you can start building a pension pot and take control of your financial future? Now there’s food for thought… Do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to have a chat about your financial situation.
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