How To Stop Impulse Buying

I love personality tests. If you take one you take them all. You find out you have common strengths and weaknesses across the board. I’m a Sanguine. A 7 on the Enneagram and an ENFP for Myers Briggs.

All of this basically means. I’m a pleasure seeker, who is extroverted, spontaneous, irresponsible, and basically never satisfied.

Now, I believe everyone struggles with being content. It’s the human condition. However,  I really struggle with practicing contentment every day. I have found that my struggle with being satisfied effects my purchasing habits. Of the hundreds/thousands of ads I see on a daily basis. Every single one of them is preying on my desire for more.

Marketing companies do this on purpose. They are selling a life that we want. I need a plan to keep me from letting my desire for more rule my purchases. Because consuming items isn’t the answer.

Here are some tools I use to every day to curb impulsive purchases.

The Rule of One

When I decided to pursue simplifying the amount of things I owned I came up with the Rule of one. This is a rule is that I can only have one of any particular thing. I only need one pair of jean shorts, one deodorant, one set of shampoo and conditioner, one pair of brown sandals, one black dress, one phone cover, one eyeliner pencil, etc.

This rule keeps me from making dozens of unneeded purchases every month. I’ll see shampoo on sale, or sandals, or mascara. The rule of thinking used to be, well I’m going to run out of this soon…. Or I don’t really love those sandals I already have…

But the truth is I don’t need the new shoes then. If I don’t like my brown sandals, then I should get rid of them and buy new ones. Not own two. I need new shampoo when I run out of the one I currently have. Buying, releases dopamine but the good feelings don’t last. That’s why it’s called retail therapy.

Wait 24 Hours

If you want to buy anything that is non-essential. I force myself wait 24 hours before purchasing it. More often than not, I realize I don’t need it.

Make a List

I keep a list of things that I am looking for. My list has home, kitchen, things for my daughter, you name it. When I’m online and see a great deal but it’s not on the list. I remember that my extra money needs to go towards those first. Not wasted on impulsive buys.


The key to gratitude is respecting what you already own. I find that doing some decluttering helps me rediscover things I already  have. Spend the time to give away or sell things you don’t need. Having less things reminds you that you don’t need as much as you think.

Practice Gratitude

When I desire to spend more, I often find that it’s usually when I’m feeling discontent in other areas in life. A way that I fight this is through making a gratitude list and remind myself of our family’s financial goals. When I get into perspective I can often catch myself before making an impulsive buy.  I don’t always, but that hey, nobody’s perfect. Prayer is the easiest way I can do this. If you’re not already grateful, adding more won’t bring anything to your life.

Stop Trying to Keep Up

Social media has a tendency to encourage us to compare. Ask yourself the question before making a purchase. Why are you buying it? Is it because your friend has it and you think you need it? Or will it really add value to your life. If it is any other reason besides need or bringing real value to your life. Walk away.


Remember how I said I don’t always catch myself before I make an impulsive buy? Well this is why I return often. I always give myself a week or two to test if an item is actually what we need. If I realize we don’t need it, I’ll return it. So as you might imagine, I return often.

Take a Break From Advertisements.

Digital marketing experts speculate that the average person is exposed to 4,000- 10,000 ads per day . This translates that a lot of our day is being bombarded by companies telling us our lives  need this or that. Try and add more activities in your life where you aren’t being advertised to. Read a book, enforce limits on screen time for yourself, play a board games over phone games, make a recipe from a book not your phone. You’ll notice that the less time with ads during your leisure time the less desire you feel to buy.

Remember Your Goals

When you make a budget you set family goals. Whether it’s getting out of debt, paying off your home early, retiring wealthy, quitting your 9-5, your goals are WHY you budget. No one budgets for fun. Well maybe some people do, but I’m not one of them.  I budget because I want to get somewhere with my family. That somewhere is more important than this cute $30 dress I’ll wear once.

What tools do you use to curb emotional buying? The more the merrier.

3 thoughts on “How To Stop Impulse Buying

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