“Wow…it looks so nice”. “What a great discount”. “I must buy this one”. Such thoughts frequently pass through our mind. These feelings are normal and shared by many. As consumers we find novel products very tempting. The possibility of buying an item less than the original listed price is equally appealing. The pressure to follow what is trendy can also be significant.
As we grew up we gradually learnt that not everything that is within reach should be placed in our mouth, since it can be a health hazard. Likewise, as grown-ups we need to teach ourselves how to shape our spending habits. In particular it is important to control impulsive buying, which is the tendency of a person to buy goods and services on the spur of the moment, without much thought. An impulse purchase involves a hasty decision to satisfy a want, or desire, or thought. This behaviour can be driven by an intense urge to buy for gratification purposes. Such purchases often represent unplanned spending.
There are tips which people may follow to manage their buying behaviour. In this manner they can avoid purchasing products which on second thoughts they would recriminate. One option is to condition yourself to start delaying your purchases, maybe even for a few hours. This will allow your brain to reconsider whether that product is indeed something which is needed. This may be especially important for those who frequently engage in online buying. Another suggestion is to write down the product you want to buy on a list, and instruct yourself to buy only what is on that list, and within the budget that you have allocated. In this manner your shopping is purposeful and compatible with your financial means.
Some people may suffer from money illusion. Buying products in cash or using a credit card is broadly equivalent in terms of drawing down from your financial resources. However, psychologically some may find it much easier to spend money when they do not have to physically detach from their cash. For these persons, the advice is to rely more on cash and less on their credit card, in order to reduce the tendency for impulse purchases.
Sometimes spending money is perceived as an alternative therapy against malaise resulting from negative feelings such as sadness or stress. This is a wrong strategy and can indeed create additional financial problems. Rather than engaging in impulse purchases, one can opt for other activities, such as exercise, or talking to friends, which can be more emotionally rewarding, and with no side effects.