6 Ways to Curb Impulse Buys

Whether you are the person who can stay out of the mall for months but impulse buy at the grocery store, or always have to purchase something online, excess spending can wreak havoc on your financials. We all need to learn ways to curb impulse buys. Impulse buys are the worst because they are never budgeted for (thus, the term impulse). If you can’t seem to control yourself, let us help! The CGS Team is sharing 6 ways to curb impulse buys and resist the urge to spend more than you need to.

How to curb impulse buys

#1 Make a List

Regardless of what you need to buy, create a list and stick to it. Going to the grocery store? Great, list out everything you need to buy while you’re there. Headed to Macy’s? Write down exactly what you’re looking for.  When you have a list, you have a purpose for spending.

It doesn’t matter what type of store you’re going to, to curb impulse buys you need a list. Your list was thought out and planned, and therefore should be followed. If something you want is not on your list, make a note of it and add it to the list for the next shopping trip.

#2 Use Cash

We love using cash for purchases because you actually have a limit. Once the cash is done, you’re done! Cash is also good for your financial psyche. When you physically part with your money, it hurts you more than if you simply swiped some plastic. You see the cash leaving and going to someone else, and that’s not always a great feeling.

#3 Take Your Feelings Out of the Equation

Remember the article How Can I Curb Emotional Spending? If not, read it next. When you head to the store feeling sad, angry, overly happy or stressed out, you may impulse buy based on your emotions. Take your feelings out of the equation so that you can make purchases with a sound mind. Besides, you shouldn’t be going anywhere without your list!

#4 Budget for Fun

Avoiding shopping altogether may be a recipe for failure, instead of budget for your fun spending. Whether you enjoy a nice manicure or a new bag, plan for it. Start saving an extra $25-$50 each week and indulge yourself when you’ve saved up enough for it.

#5 Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

Are you bringing your credit cards with you everywhere for fear of some super expensive emergency coming up, but find yourself using your cards to shop? When was the last time you actually had an emergency and needed your credit cards? Leave your credit cards at home to avoid buying things on impulse, even if it’s an unplanned latte.

If the item isn’t budgeted, or you can’t cover it with the cash in your wallet, leave it behind. Having your credit cards hand gives a false sense of security. You feel better because you have available credit, but the reality is that whatever you spend needs to be paid back.

#6 Be Smart with Sales

Buying something on sale that you don’t need is overspending at its finest. Make a list of the things you need and when the sales come around, refer back to it. Going into stores with sales without a game plan can result in serious impulse buys and overspending. Be mindful of tactics retailers use to get you to shop as well. Just because the item is almost sold out doesn’t mean you need it.

Related: 5 Tips to Help You Control Your Spending


When it comes to spending money, proper planning can turn a bad situation into a good one. Start budgeting for the things you want so you don’t feel guilty when you do indulge. Identify your needs versus your wants and be willing to hold off on the items that are not important.

Impulse purchases come from a lack of control. Get in control of your finances and you can get control of your impulses. How do you curb impulse spending? What triggers have caused you to spend when you shouldn’t? We want to hear your thoughts and experiences, so leave a comment below!

-The CGS Team



1 thought on “6 Ways to Curb Impulse Buys”

  1. For me, I have to take myself out of the situation to spend. Unless I need something, I avoid malls and stores altogether. This is especially true when I’m saving for something specific.

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