End Impulse Spending

Yesterday we talked about need vs. want and how wants can seem like needs in the lust heat of the shoe shopping moment.

Although I believe we don’t need most of what we want, it’s not wrong to buy what we want.  It’s just tough on the budget and this month is all about saving money.


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End Impulse Spending.

Over the long-term, here’s what I found helpful.

Make a list!

Every time the desire begins to burn bright, make a list.  Write those new boots or the shiny cappuccino machine on your list.

Don’t do anything with the items on your list for one month.  Write the date next to the item, so you know when a month is really up.  If you still “want” it after a month, then go ahead and buy it (if you have the money, of course).

You’ll be surprised by what you don’t need after a month.  Heck, there will be things you don’t even remotely want.  In fact, you’ll wonder where your head was when you wrote this list.

I’ll tell you exactly where it was, in the Sunday sales flyer!

You know those Madden Girl boots I talked about yesterday, I put them on my list.  I’m roughly two weeks out from near obsession with these boots and you know what, I still really like them, but I’m questioning whether buying them is even remotely a good idea.  I know there are things I need more than cute boots.  I suspect by the end of the month, I won’t even flinch when I cross the boots off my list and never give them a second thought.

There are so many things that would be nice to have, but when you’re trying to save money, you need to keep yourself from impulse spending. 

If you’re in a store and see something you like, tell yourself you’ll put it on your list.  If you keep the list on your phone, you can add the item of interest in that moment.  I can almost guarantee your immediate desire will be satisfied by putting it on the list.

It’s a bit of mind game, but it works.

Kind of like the kid who is throwing a tempter tantrum over the toy he saw in the store.  Hand him a lollipop and he’ll forget all about the toy.  We’re kids at heart.

So remember, to avoid impulse spending, put it on a list!


Do you avoid impulse spending or do you find yourself walking around in an advertising crazed coma?

Please take a moment and share your best tips for avoiding impulse spending.  We’d love to learn from you!

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31 Days of Cheap Tricks - Living for Less - A series providing you with tips on saving money and living while spending less


  1. says

    that’s a great idea. Sometimes I take a picture of the item, or even try it on and take a picture. Sometimes that satisfies the urge to have it right away…in a way you do have it…just in picture form.

  2. says

    Girl these blog posts were written at the perfect time for me, we just had to buy a new (used) car, ours was 10 years old and fixing it would have cost more that the down payment on a new one, and no guarantee it wouldn’t go out again. It was bad timing right before Christmas for us, but I am couponing more and trying really hard to control my impulse spending, which has always been hard for me.

  3. says

    I hate lists, but….they keep me honest! :-) You’re so right about the waiting. This summer I was in love/lust with a cute maxi dress at Target. I went back every couple of weeks to see if it had FINALLY gone on sale. A couple of months later, when it was FINALLY on sale, guess who didn’t want a maxi dress anymore? Yep, waiting was good. :-) Thanks for the wonderful wisdom.

  4. says

    Well, truthfully, I think the best way to avoid impulse spending is to STAY OUT OF THE STORES in the first place. Go shopping only when you truly NEED something. I see so many people use shopping as entertainment, never realizing the holes they are digging for themselves. And should a want crop up, using your list is an excellent idea Believe me, I have lots of things that I “wanted” but never at the expense of something that was “needed”. It keeps the bank account much healthier.

  5. says

    This is an excellent strategy. And one that works WONDERS over here, too. I often DO ask, “What was I thinking?” at the end of the time frame. HA Keep em’ coming! :)

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