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When was the last time you bought something essential? And by essentials, I don’t mean a new phone or fashion accessories or tv or a couch or junk unhealthy unprocessed foods or that trendy gadget you’ve been longing to buy.
Essentials are those things that you need, without which living a normal life will get difficult.
Things like fruits and vegetables, basic clothing, a place to stay, a not so expensive phone and a laptop to work (if it’s needed) are a few essentials every man or woman should have.
Far from importance quite often, we fall for such traps. This is impulsive Buying and here’s a definitive guide on how you shouldn’t fall prey to Impulsive Buying.
Ready to not buy Useless things? Let’s Go!
Impulsive Buying: How To Stop Impulsive Buying
What is Impulsive Buying?
Impulsive Buying is a tendency where a customer buys goods and services without planning. When customers take such decisions at the spur of the moment, it is triggered due to various emotions playing in your head.
It’s an unplanned expense but not exactly unplanned. Things such as mobile phones, chocolates, cars, jewellery, clothes, sunglasses and other objects that appeal to a person are considered objects used in Impulsive Buying. It’s anything that a person likes and it’s not essential.
Impulsive Buying is difficult to describe, it’s not just unplanned buying. Your purchases can be unplanned and yet essentials such as apples to eat for a week weren’t in your shopping list so it’s unplanned if you buy them and is yet essential because an apple is a need.
But is it? An apple might be a need for one person but might be a want for another. You see, impulsive Buying is extremely confusing and it differs from person to person. What you may think as a want is actually a need for someone else and vice versa.
Impulsive Buying behaviour
Marketing agencies work hard and try all sorts of ways to ensure that a customer buys a product whether there’s a need or not.
If you see a pair of sunglasses right next to the grocery store, that’s because it was strategically placed there to trigger your mind into impulsive Buying that product.
It’s so instant that most often you only realise it was a bad purchase after you make the purchase. Till then you’re glad you made the purchase and are excited about the product. After the purchase, it’s the complete opposite.
Marketing agencies study how humans react to different things and create strategic marketing campaigns, they’re so good that even the person who hates the product and might never use it may end up buying a pair or two.
While you certainly can’t ignore these ads (because they’re so attractive), you can try your best to avoid buying them and being prey to impulsive Buying. Let’s see how we can tackle this heavy expense problem.
How to stop Impulsive Buying?
While impulsive Buying cannot be permanently stopped, it can certainly be reduced to a point where you won’t be wasting any money. Let’s divide impulsive buyers into three simple categories
Category of People in Impulsive Buying
Each person can be categorised into three categories. I believe we are all in one of these categories. All we have to do is find our category and work our way down from there. Impulsive Buying can’t be avoided but can be minimised.
Your aim should be to transform from an aggressive or a normal Impulsive buyer to a Minimal Impulsive Buyer and then try to be the best minimal Impulsive buyer. Let’s break it down slow and easy.
1. Aggressive impulsive buyer
Over 60% Individuals will fall in the category. Luckily I was never a part of this category but almost all my friends are still a part of this category. If you’re an aggressive Impulsive buyer, you’re that person who looks at something and instantly gets attracted to buy it.
You think less and buy more. This doesn’t mean you’re not intellectual, it means that you love buying anything that attracts you and doesn’t think about your finances at the point of purchase.
How to stop being an aggressive impulsive buyer?
The first thing I want you to do is every time you see anything which is attractive (eg: burger, jewellery, earphones, apple watch, shoes) you need to take a pause. Wait for 10 seconds and think; Is this needed?
How will this purchase help me? Can I avoid this purchase? If the answers aren’t all that appealing, it’s clear this is something you shouldn’t purchase.
Then take a step back, move the other and don’t waste your hard-earned money on this expenditure.
Consistently follow this and you will slowly get out of this category. Hurrah, you just took the first step to avoid Impulsive Buying
2. Normal Impulsive buyer
About 35% of people fall into this category. Here people are picky and they think before they make a purchase but if they like something (a want) they will surely buy it.
If they don’t like it, they don’t buy it. People belonging to this category don’t buy it all but buy some of it, while this is much better than aggressive impulsive Buying, it’s not the ideas category you want to be in.
The great thing about the people in this category is that they know crystal clear about their likes and dislikes and what they are Okay with not purchasing.
How to stop being a normal impulsive buyer?
Just like the aggressive impulsive buyer, you too have to take a deep breath in and analyse the situation.
You won’t have a huge problem as you’ll avoid spending money on things you dislike; you only focus needs to be on those things that you like and analyse if there is an actual need for it.
Do this and you’ll soon be transferred to the Minimal Impulsive Buyer category – The Ideal Category.
3. Minimal Impulsive Buyer
Less than 5% of people make it here. This is the category where impulsive Buying is at a minimum. The people belonging to this category surely get the urge of buying things they instantly see but they can’t control their urge and save their money.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably not in this category but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your place here.
Once you know how to stop impulsive spending and try saving as much money as you can while not living miserably, you will be a part of this category.
How to be consistent at being a minimal Impulsive Buyer?
It’s all about not falling prey to shiny objects and controlling your urge to spend. If you can do that, you’re not going to leave the category ever.
Every time you feel tempted, think of your larger goal; what is it you want to achieve and what are you willing to do to get there? This simple question will easily stop you from impulsive Buying.
6 ways to stop Impulsive Buying
- Plan beforehand
Don’t be that guy who enters a mall without a plan, without a list of things to buy. You’ll definitely end up with 5 other non-essentials that are a total waste of money.
Before you leave your house, take a piece of paper or use your phone to write down the essentials you need. Don’t say you’ll keep a distance from the ads cause you won’t be able to.
But if you have a list, you’ll at least know where you need to go thus saving money. Refuse impulsive Buying and control your urge to spend on unnecessary stuff.
- Understand Needs and Wants
A want is a desire, it’s something that isn’t necessary but we still end up purchasing it. Instead, a need is something you actually need, something without which you cannot do your daily chores.
It’s essential to your living without which having a normal lifestyle might get really tough. Understanding the difference between both will help you identify which item is wanted and which one is needed.
Thus you can ensure needs are considered while wants are avoided.
I’ve written a detailed post on understanding Needs and Wants, you should check it out to understand the two in-depth.
- Use the 10 second Rule
Impulse is a sudden trigger your brain releases. It’s so sudden that you end up doing irrational work. Using the 10 Second Rule, you can easily reduce or stop impulsive buying to a great extent.
Every time you see something and you feel like purchasing it right away, know that your trigger is activated and you’re in an impulsive buying state. Don’t move, stand where you are, take a deep breath in and for 10 seconds think about not buying the item.
That’s it! Your mind will immediately stop the urge to buy and the trigger will be deactivated.
- Set aside a splurge amount
This by far is the smartest way to reduce Impulsive spending.
You need to set aside some money for your wants, this way you won’t crash your budget as well as satisfy your wants.
I recommend you spend not more than 5% of your net income on wants, that much is enough for your fun time, be it a movie night, a date night, new clothes, jewellery, or any other expenses. Want to buy a car? It’s simple – accumulate 5% each month till your car amount is met and then buy your car.
It’s up to you. But don’t exceed this limit, even a little bit in excess can hamper your finances, you don’t want that.
- Keep credit cards away
Another great technique to avoid spending aimlessly is not having enough money. Yes, credit cards are the best in the world but if you truly want to save money and stop impulsive buying, you have to maintain distance from your credit cards.
Just don’t use it. Only when you really require it, otherwise it’s only creating problems in your journey to financial freedom.
Similarly, don’t carry debit cards too. As we discussed earlier, you enter a shopping mall or a grocery store with a list prepared beforehand. So you can guess how much your total cost will be and carry 20% more than your calculations.
This way even if you’re highly tempted to buy, you won’t be able to just because you don’t have the funds necessary to buy. A simple yet effective strategy. Do try it.
- Don’t get tempted by discounts
These discounts are really really good. No, I mean it, they are so amazing that even the best of the best fall trap into this and after they spend loads of money, they feel like they didn’t need all this and their finances are hampered.
Just because it’s a clearance sale, doesn’t mean you buy a lot, it’s just the beginning of the year. Be aware of these traps and keep a calm mind while you see them; no reaction is the best reaction.
Also, the easiest way to avoid discounts is to not leave your house during such discounts. Just stay quarantined at home and you’re on the path to financial freedom!
How is impulsive Buying different from compulsive buying?
Remember how we spoke about spending 5% of your income on things you want? That’s exactly what compulsive buying means.
Basically, a compulsive shopper will plan the shopping experience as a way to release stress or tension, to avoid anxiety, any other problem or maybe just for fun. Impulsive buying is an unplanned whole compulsive buying is planned.
Impulsive buying leads to sadness after spending whereas compulsive buying will continue bringing happiness even after they spend. But the grass isn’t all green for compulsive buyers; doing these planned purchases over and over again will make the buyer an addict.
So every time he/she has anxiety issues or stress/tension, they resort to spending money to de-stress themselves leading to excessive spending.
How to Avoid Impulsive Buying?
If you buy the things you don’t need, you’ll eventually have to sell the things you do need.
So always try avoiding impulsive Buying and keep wants aside.
About 5% of your net income can be used for wants and that’s fine.
Wants to make our life more fun. Don’t exceed it though. Just an additional 5% expenditure on wants may make or break your budget.
Do you tend to fall prey to impulsive buying or can you control your emotions? Share your effective strategies to reduce spending. Let me know in the comments below.
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