Top 5 Tips For Controlling Impulsive Spending and Shopping

The urge to spend hits and then, POW, the purchase is made. Stop the spending urge before it starts with these 5 tips.

Top 5 tips to control impulsive spending and shopping…

1. Put a “pause” between you and the purchase

Call a friend, step out of the store, stand up from the desk and take a walk around the block. Even better, take a look at a list of reasons WHY you want you get out of debt in the first place.

Do anything you need to do to separate yourself from the purchase. Another way to do this is to give yourself a mandatory waiting period before you buy anything. It could be 1 hour, 2 days, a month or 3 months. Whatever you choose to do, infuse some distance. This is a great way to diffuse the urge and impulse to spend.

2. Unsubscribe from brick-and-mortar and online shop emails 

These spammy emails are full of bright colors, tempting tag-lines, and most of all the claim to a good deal. Remove the temptation and urge to online shop out of boredom.

3. Stay out of the stores

If you hang out in stores it’s easier to justify purchases. “It’s on sale!”, “But it’s so cute!”, “Oh! I haven’t seen one in THIS color yet!”, “Girl, you look GOOD!”. All trouble.

Remember, if you hang out in a barbershop you’re going to get a haircut.

4. Stay busy to fight “boredom shopping”Lots of times I find myself browsing online shops simply because I’m bored. I’ll be working on something, think about some random thing I wanted to check out online (for research or reference or something else totally harmless) and then, before you know it there I am on a site seeing what’s new for the season and what’s on sale. Trouble. Trouble. Trouble.For me, I’ve got to constantly keep myself on task so I don’t get distracted into shopping/browsing territory because then I’m up in #3, but the virtual version.If you find yourself going to the mall on the weekends (we used to do this ALL the time in my pre-spending fast days) then take up some other activities that don’t cost money. (There are some fun ideas in this list called 25 New Things To Try Today.)5. Think about how much time it will take to return the stuff you boughtI have THE WORST buyer’s remorse. I’ll convince myself I love something and need it and then before you know it, I hate it and I’m regretting the purchase. Worst of all, is all the time it takes to return the stuff. I try to think about that when I’m in a “buying mood”.For me, abstinence with shopping is the best way to go.


How to do fight impulsive spending and shopping? What do you do when the urge to spend hits? 

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


9 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips For Controlling Impulsive Spending and Shopping

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  1. Sara

    We have been working on our impulse buying, and although it's been hard we're doing great. We just ask ourselves, how long the purchase will last, do we honestly see ourselves using the purchase daily, why do we want the purchase– and if it's because of some silly ideal thought like we think it will make something easier, or will make us act differently (be it more organized or whatever) we simply laugh that thought off. Nothing we purchase is going to change us, or make us better. We are what we are and if we want to change it has to start at the most basic level. Inside us using materials we have around the house.

    I've been the main impulse buyer, and I've changed the things I buy. I think I have found a balance of needs/purchases. Now it's fun for me to buy in bulk- I recently bought bars of dove soap with a coupon and made liquid body wash out of it. 6 bars of soap made 98 oz of moisturizing body wash that will last a very loooong time. It's the same consistancy and smell as the Dove body wash at walmart for 5.88/22.5oz bottle. (I found the recipe on pinterest) I also made a batch of laundry detergent for an upfront cost of $35 (which is higher because I used the purex crystals in it to make it smell uhmayzing) but the batch will do well over 420 loads which is well over a year for us! Now I have fun buying our needs instead of our wants because I make a game of it.

    For fun date night stuff, I've also found a lot of cheap ideas on pinterest, and I also use groupon, and my hobby is sewing/knitting/crocheting and I've started using my stash or only buying yarn that's on sale.

    Your website has helped me so much, thank you!!

  2. Carrie Smith

    The best thing I did was #2 – unsubscribing from store and promotional emails. The deals are so tempting when they're sitting right in my inbox and I kept buying too many impulse purchases. Now, I do tip #1 and put some time between my "want" to buy and if it's actually something I need.

  3. Kara

    I totally agree with unsubscribing to everything! I also force myself to NOT look at sale sites like Gilt and such…it just begs me to buy something.

    My most helpful tool has been Pinning things I want onto a board called "Wants". I pin it, leave the site, shut the computer, sleep…if I still WANT WANT WANT it, I'll leave it there for a few days and see if I forget about it. Often enough, I forget that I wanted it and don't buy it!

  4. JayeF

    My best trick from grad school–go to the library. Find a great stack of books, movies, cds (pre ipod days), give them your card to check out, walk out with a bag of entertainment. A great substitute for shopping.


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