Impulse Purchases: 7 Ways to Help Resist Them

Article by | July 22, 2020

An impulse purchase is an easy way to feel good: you see, you buy, you’re satisfied. But then if your bank account is hurting, you’re left wondering why you did it. We’ve all been there, and during COVID-19, 72% of consumers surveyed in a recent study claim that an impulse buy made during the pandemic affected their mood in a positive way.

That’s why impulsive spending is so insidiously addicting: it’s an easy feedback loop to get into and it feels familiar enough to seem harmless, or at least easy to avoid. But figuring out how to put an end to your impulse buying isn’t as simple as just saying “this stops now.”

Even when we recognize the harm of impulsive spending, we tend to convince ourselves that it’s something we’ll stop doing on a set date that’s usually pinned to tomorrow, or next week, or just after this vacation is over, or once the wedding is planned.

As long as the stop date is delayed, it allows us to feel a false sense of calm in the way of already having decided to stop the behavior. Indeed, research shows that we’re less likely to achieve a goal when we announce that we’re going to do something and other research shows that our inherent “restraint bias” means most of us overestimate our ability to practice and use self-control.

So, naturally, many of us are guilty of taking a long time to rein in our impulse purchasing. Fortunately, we know that recognizing the problem is the first step toward changing a damaging behavior. Here are a few ways to move forward and help avoid making an impulse purchase — or 10 — in the future.

Read the 7 Ways to Resist Them Here

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