5 Ways to Avoid Impulse Purchases

April 03, 2017

We’ve all had one of those days at work, where the only thing to make you feel a little bit better is a quick trip to your favorite store. Sure, you probably don’t need another bottle of nail polish, but there’s something about that quick decision that “you’re worth this” to help us feel a little better.

Impulse shopping isn’t always bad, but when it comes to bigger ticket items, it’s easy to get yourself in trouble. Here’s five ways to keep your retail therapy from becoming a bigger issue:

  1. Sleep on it. It can be easy to spend money that hasn’t been budgeted on a whim, but significantly more difficult when you’ve stepped away. A fresh perspective can help you re-establish your priorities outside the context of an emotional decision. Take twenty-four hours, think about the purchase, and if after careful reflection it still seems worthwhile, go for it!
  2. Make a plan. Decide what you are looking to buy before you leave the house. Whether it’s grocery store or Christmas shopping at the mall, it’s a lot easier to stay on track when you’ve already planned where your money will be spent.
  3. Only take the cash you’ll need. If you stick to a pre-determined budget, you will stay within your means. It’s even easier to stay within the budget if you physically can’t pay any more than what you’ve decided. Bring only the cash you intend on using, and if you want to take it a step further, leave the credit cards at home. Temptation: eliminated.
  4. Don’t shop when you’re emotional. You could be proud, angry, overjoyed, or disheartened, and all of these feelings could lead you to spend money you didn’t intend to spend. While that purchase might make you feel better for a little while, the longer-lasting feeling of regret is what will linger.
  5. Bring someone with you. Just as it’s easier to make it to the gym everyday if you’ve got the accountability of someone else there, impulse shopping is harder to do if you’re not alone. Get a friend, spouse, or family member involved to keep you on track and within your budget!

If it’s time to reevaluate your personal budget, or begin to look at your retirement options, we are happy to meet with you and begin the conversation.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Adviser. Member FINRA/SIPC.