First Person: 7 Ways I Prevent Impulse Shopping

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The other day I was shopping for household necessities like soap, toothpaste and laundry detergent. Suddenly, I found myself in the décor section of the store. I picked up a rug for my son's bedroom. I looked at the price tag, $22, and put it down. I picked it up a second time before reminding myself that we really didn't need this. I am guilty of buying things on a whim. However, here are seven ways I prevent impulse shopping.

# 1 Sticking to My List

When I go to the store, I have a list of things I need. After I buy the essentials, I go to checkout. If it's not on the list, I don't buy it.

# 2 Don't Shop to Feel Better

If I am in a bad mood, I won't go shopping. It's too easy to want to buy something to feel better. I try to make sure I am happy so that I don't indulge in sweets at the grocery store or anything pretty that catches my eye.

# 3 Make a Wish List

I frequently make online wish lists. It's fun to "window shop." I only purchase about 10% of my wish list items. However, online browsing and placing items in my wish list is similar to shopping.

# 4 Have a Waiting Period

After putting items on my wish list, I wait several months or until the items goes on sale. At that point, I may or may not buy the item. If I go back to the store and the clothing is still in stock, I can decide if I really want to spend the money.

# 5 Leave Credit Cards at Home

The easiest way for me to prevent impulse shopping is to leave my credit cards at home. This ensures that I can't overspend, even if I want to. In fact, I typically spend less money because I want to make sure I have enough money when I reach the front of the checkout line.

# 6 Bring My Children

When I take my two young children grocery store shopping, I spend about $25 less than I would if I went by myself. After all, I'm usually in a hurry to leave the store before someone has to go to the bathroom or starts crying.

# 7 Give Myself an Occasional Splurge

Each year, I will buy myself a nice dress or new shoes. I take my time and purchase one or two items I really like. I try to buy a more expensive item on sale so it feels like a splurge without putting a strain on my family's finances.

I'm not pretending I will never make an impulse buy. However, these strategies keep my shopping compulsions to a minimum.

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