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Impulse shopping. We all know it and have done it more often than we’d like to admit.
That cute bag on sale or an online ad for the latest iPhone— annnd, before we realize it, we find ourselves sitting on the floor with a pair of scissors surrounded by delivery boxes.
Making purchases like these once in a while can be a fun way to treat yourself. But when it becomes a habit, you can do some serious damage to your savings. But don’t worry, baby Carrots, we are here to help you slow down the impulsive spending urges and help you make better buying decisions.
What is Impulse Shopping?
Impulsive spending is anything you buy that you didn’t plan to. For example, you head to the grocery store with a list. On that list are eggs, milk, and bread. While walking through the store, you throw a bag of chips and a can of dip into your cart.
That’s a minor case. But impulse shopping can involve more expensive purchases, such as vacations and cars.
With any impulse buy, there’s also usually something that encourages you to do it. It can be a store display, an email, or a coffee shop just off the road on your way home.
Because you’re triggered to make unplanned purchases, just about anything can become an impulsive buyer. Some of the most common items are food, clothing, and toys. And two out of three shoppers buy something on impulse during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
How to Shop Slow
It takes careful planning and willpower to prevent impulsive spending. With some minor tweaks to your habits, you can learn to shop slowly. Here’s how.
1. Create Lists and Don’t Stray from Them
Creating old-fashioned shopping lists on paper is okay if you’re headed out to the store. But what about online shopping? You’re browsing your favorite website, and before you know it, you’ve spent too much.
This is where browser extensions like Carrot can save the day! Window shop online and create wish lists as you see things you like. Add your favorites so you can compare prices between sites. And pull up your saved lists when you’re sure you’ve got enough in your budget.
2. Avoid Emotional Spending
A lot of impulse shopping happens because of strong emotions. If you’re feeling upset or stressed out, avoid stores and websites. Try to talk it out with a friend or hit the gym instead of buying something to lift your mood.
Sometimes spending some time with a pet or a good book will also do the trick. If you’re feeling an urge to spend, put that feeling on pause. Ask yourself whether impulse shopping is the best thing for you to do right now. Look at your finances and tell yourself to wait a day or two before you decide to buy something that’s not needed urgently.
3. Limit Social Media and Email Lists
What causes impulse shopping besides not having lists and emotional triggers? Exposure to social media and endless deals in your inbox is partly to blame. When you see what others are wearing and buying, you naturally want that too.
Comparing yourself to others is normal, but it can also cause you to feel bad. You might get a case of “keeping up with the Joneses.” The same goes for those tempting emails promising you big savings and the best deals. Try to limit how many email lists you subscribe to. Start clicking that unsubscribe button and clean up all that digital clutter.
What Causes Impulse Shopping?
Here’s a snapshot of what leads to impulsive spending:
- Habits and past experiences
- Strong emotions
- Deals that look too good to pass up
- The thrill of shopping
When you can recognize these things, you can control them better. For example, you know you tend to buy takeout every Friday. Greasy fries or a yummy piece of pizza is a way to unwind from the week and reward yourself.
As the urge to order delivery surfaces, acknowledge why you’re about to do it. Determine whether that takeout meal is the only way you can unwind. It’s never too late to start a new habit!
Fear of missing out on a great deal is something else that causes impulse shopping. It’s what makes everyone stand in those long lines during Black Friday sales. But this isn’t the only day you can score great holiday deals. Knowing upcoming sales and the best days to shop can help you save big and not overspend in one go.
Nearly everyone will buy something without thinking about it beforehand. That’s impulse shopping, and it’s not always a bad thing. But when it becomes a habit or makes you miss a rent or mortgage payment, it’s time to make changes.
You can prevent impulsive spending by recognizing what causes it and making better choices. Bad habits, low moods, and FOMO can lead to poor purchase decisions. Try creating and sticking to lists, avoiding shopping when you’re emotional, and limiting your digital experiences.
Ready to put these tips into action?
Add Carrot to get started on making your next shopping list! With Carrot, you can see all your carts on one page, compare prices, organize your collections, and get notified when there’s a price drop. This, right here, folks, is the future of shopping guilt-free!