How to Stop Impulse Buying

Budget Stretcher (featured column)
by Terry Rigg

Impulse buying is simply defined as making an unplanned purchase. This can be an extra pack of cookies when grocery shopping or buying a car on a whim. Most of us are guilty of this at one time or another. Even though the term is simple, it probably accounts for the majority of money problems families have.

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Planning a purchase of any kind is absolutely necessary if you intend to use your money wisely. That extra pack of cookies I mentioned isn't going to break your budget, but with the prices of groceries today, it doesn't take too many items to put a dent in your grocery allowance. However, buying a car without prior planning can get very expensive. Besides the obvious things like finding the best purchase price and interest rate, down payment, money for taxes and license, etc., you need time to decide which car is right for your family.

The below list of tips may help prevent impulse buying:

If you see something you like, leave the store without it. Go home and look at your budget. Then if you feel you can afford it, go back. In addition, this will give you time to think about whether you really need it.

Always go to the grocery store or dollar store with a list. Buy just what is on your list. If you see items you would like to have, make a note to put them on your list for your next trip.

Always consider the entire price of an item before buying. In my state, if you buy a car that costs $20,000, you have to pay about 7% in sales taxes within 30 days of the purchase. That $1400 may not be that easy to come up with.

I know that the above ideas may take some fun out of spending your money. Planning and budgeting are about as dull as watching grass grow. However, a family that budgets their money and plans purchases, will no doubt be able to make more purchases and feel much better about it.

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Copyright © 2003 by Terry Rigg. All rights reserved.

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