Impulse buying is typical behavior, especially now, since shopping has become more accessible. It’s easy to open an app to an online store, browse through the selection, and add something to your online cart.
Instances of impulse buying increased during the coronavirus crisis. Crowdsourced shopping platform Slickdeals surveyed 2,000 Americans in April and found that the average monthly spending on impulse purchases is $182.98. That was an 18% jump from the average spending last January, which was $155.03.
Why Do We Impulse Buy?
A variety of psychological studies suggest different motivations behind impulse buying, the most common being enjoyment and pleasure. Buying a treat or a book is a pick-me-up on a bad day. In the survey by Slickdeals, they discovered that there’s an increase in purchases for books and video games as a way for people to cope during stay-at-home orders.
Another reason for impulse buying is the lack of self-control. You might struggle with controlling your emotions, making it harder for you to resist buying something you might not need.
There is also the fear of missing out. When you come across the deal, you might want to take advantage of it because you think you’re saving money in the long run. You might also buy a product on a whim because it is limited-edition.
Impulse Buying Comes with Negative Effects
Although impulse buying makes people feel good immediately after the purchases, the pleasant feelings don’t always last. Some buyers report feeling guilty or shameful about their purchase once their mood settles down.
When buying items that don’t have a purpose, they end up being tossed somewhere in a home. Frequently acquiring unnecessary items could lead to a cluttered home and hoarding tendencies.
Spur-of-the-moment purchases could also mess up your personal savings. Cash that could have been in a bank would end up spent on something you don’t immediately need. By regularly using credit cards for impulse purchases, you could risk being in debt.
Curbing the Spending
Curbing impulse buying involves creating good habits and sticking to them.
- Create a budget: Find out how much you should spend per month. Some personal finance experts recommend using the 50-30-20 rule in which you spend 50% of your income on daily necessities, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. This rule gives you leeway to spend on something you like without blowing your budget.
- Wait before spending: If you see something you want to buy, write down the item and the store and stow the list away in a drawer. Give yourself 24 hours or more to look at the list again. Once you have a cool head, ask if you’ll use the item and if you have the money for it.
- Be aware of your emotions: Before you open a shopping app, ask yourself: what are you feeling? Did you have a bad day? Is the cabin fever getting to you? Figure out if your feelings are worth the purchase.
- Plan your purchases: If you see something you want to buy, there’s a good chance it might not end up what it looks like. Research the product that interests you; look for user reviews. Doing so will help you prevent buyer’s remorse if you do end up buying the item.
If you’re feeling the urge to buy something, don’t add it to your online cart right away. Identify your motivations and figure out if the item will help or hurt you in the future. Your wallet and emotions will thank you.