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Don't Buy on the Fly!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Okay, okay.  I admit to the indulgence of impulsive purchases. You know the story... I went to the store for one thing, and one thing only.  I was headed straight to it, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw it...something I didn’t realize I needed, until then, and I just couldn’t leave without it.

So you admit to it too, huh?  Waiting in long, boring lines, your eyes wander to the products in the check-out stands, items call out...Hey! Yeah, I’m talking to you. You want me. You need me. Maybe it was the big ticket items you didn’t plan for, but decided to buy while at Woolworths. Or, perhaps while driving home, Pick n Pay batted lashes and winked, and well, the rest is history.

And, how often do our emotions trigger impulsive shopping? We’re happy; we buy to feel happier. We’re sad; we buy to feel better. We’re angry; we buy to get even. Emotional purchases are often followed by regret. You know the thoughts...Why did I buy that? I don’t even need it!  I shouldn’t have spent that much…Ugh!

Impulse buys sting the wallet even more when you’re already having financial trouble. Since we’ve all been there, done that...how do we actually stop, or at least get some cash control?

  • Ask questions.

You are capable of making strong decisions, and strong decisions begin with strategic questions. Ask yourself pointed questions that, well, get to the point!  Start with a simple why?  But, don’t stop there. Dig a little deeper to get a handle on the reason you have to have it and why today? When emotions are driving your purchase, ask if the buy is going to make the difference you’re telling yourself it will, or if it’s just your way of avoiding the real issue?

  • Want or need?

Hands down, most impulse purchases are wants. You’ve been fine without that item all this time, remember?  Recall your true financial goals - how you want to save more and build a strong financial future. You’d feel more satisfied with yourself if you chose according to your deeper desires.

  • Make a list and check it twice.

Just stick to the list.

  • Stop before you start.

Decide how much money you’ll need and only take that amount in cash. Leave your credit cards and checkbook at home. Ouch! As the saying goes - no pain, no gain!

  • Shop smart.

Marketing is big business, and the goal is simple: you spend here. When it comes to sale items, it doesn’t matter how much you’ll save if you’re buying something you don’t need and may end up not really wanting. Just keep asking yourself those pointed questions. Oh and, be honest.


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