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How to Stop Wasting Money on Impulse Purchases in 8 Steps

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impulse spending

No matter how careful you are with money, sometimes an impulse purchase is impossible to resist.

The impulse purchase: a source of instant gratification, and the cause of many arguments at home. No matter how careful you are with money, sometimes the urge to buy is impossible to resist. But more often than not, they’re not the bargain or must-have you convince yourself they are. Here are our top Ferratum tips on how to avoid unnecessary purchases.

1. Ignore the discount price tag, do you NEED it or WANT it

Don’t let sales and reductions give you tunnel vision. It’s only a bargain if you actually need it. There’s no point buying a new sofa for the half price if you didn’t need one to begin with!

Think about what you NEED vs what you WANT when you think you’ve spotted the bargain of the century.

2. Sleep on it. Then sleep on it some more!

You’ve spotted the perfect purchase! You simply have to have it! But wait, give yourself some time to think about it first. Do your research at home, is it really a bargain? Do you NEED it? Once you’ve had time to mull it over, you might find that the urge to buy goes altogether.

3. How are you feeling?

Your current mood and state can have a big impact on impulse spending. Grocery shopping while hungry will have a huge influence on what you buy, and you may well end up with a trolley full of junk you never intended to buy.

If you’re feeling blue, buying yourself an impulse luxury might seem like a quick fix to lift your mood. In reality, you’ll probably feel worse because you’ll feel guilty for overspending.

So, whether it’s the weekly food shop or a trip to town, assess your current mood and consider whether you’ll make the right decisions.

4. Shop online instead

It sounds counterintuitive when you’re trying to cut impulse spending, but online shopping can help you spend less.

Do your research and try and find the item cheaper. Spend some time having a look for voucher codes and offers that might help reduce the price.

And the other great thing about shopping online is the total amount you’re about to spend is right there in your basket to see. No surprises at the till!

5. Shift the focus

Does shopping tend to be the focus of your socialising? If so, shift the focus to remove temptation. Meeting friends for coffee? Pick the local café instead of the local shopping centre. Taking Mum out for the day? Go to a museum or a local beauty spot instead of a day of window shopping.

6. Carry cash

It’s harder to justify unnecessary purchases when you can actually see your money disappearing before your eyes. It’s easier to bury your head in the sand when you’re using credit and debit cards to spend. Taking out cash makes it feel more real.  

7. Treat yourself

Striving to make positive changes to how you handle spending is great. But, we all need to treat ourselves now and again. If you don’t allow yourself small treats, then you’re more likely to blow your budget big time when you eventually fall off the wagon.

Work out what’s your impulse buy weakness and factor it into your budget. Can’t resist grabbing tasty snacks when you’re out and about? Treat yourself to one takeaway or meal out a month. Is fashion your big weakness? How about one outfit a month on payday?

8. Save it!

If you feel like your impulse spending is getting out of control, why not turn that chunk of your budget into something positive.

Every time you resist the urge to spend, set the money aside, transfer to your savings account or start a piggy bank stash. In a couple of months, have a look at how much you’ve managed to save. It could be enough for a mini-break or something nice for your home.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to tackle your impulse spending. These small changes to your spending habits could have a big impact on your bank balance over time.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk. Representative example: APR 1270% if borrowing £400 for 4 months. Interest rate: 292% p.a. (fixed). Total amount repayable: £665.48 by four instalments of £166.37. Maximum representative APR: 1604% if full loan repaid after 7 days.