Stop and take a breath before diving into debt.
I see it, I want it, I buy it.
With a pocket full of plastic, it’s much too easy to succumb to instant gratification and take it home today.
Before putting yourself even more deeply into debt, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
1. Do I need this or just want this?
We’re always walking a fine line between want and need when talking about impulse buying. We’ve done without it so far, so do we really need this now?
Before tossing it in your cart, take some time to wander around the store and come back to the item once or twice and ask yourself this same question. There’s a good chance you’ll come to your senses.
Better yet, one of the best pieces of advice on impulse buying it to give yourself a chance to sleep on it. Then in 24 hours see if you really need it.
2. Can I find this cheaper somewhere else?
Unless you’ve lucked into a great deal, chances are good that you can find the item just as cheaply, or even cheaper, by doing a little research.
Through shiny packaging and sales pitches, stores are hoping you’ll snap up the purchase (on impulse) without realizing it’s the same deal you can get anywhere else.
Take some time to look on line for a better deal. If you can settle for a used version, check on eBay.
3. Do I need this right now?
We all love the modern convenience of, I see it, I want it, I lay down some plastic and get it.
While instant gratification is great, do you really need this today?
If not, is layaway available? If not at this store, at another store that carries the item?
Or, is this an item that you can save up for and buy a few months down the road?
4. How am I paying for this?
Finally, ask yourself where the money is coming from…and ‘on my one, good credit card’ isn’t the right answer.
If you regularly succumb to impulse, start putting away a little money each week for a small impulse buy or two, then hold yourself to just dipping into that fund.
Note this ‘mad money’ is set aside after the bills are paid, and after you’ve tucked away around 10% of your paycheck for retirement savings.
Nothing says that you have to deny yourself everything you want.
However, it’s important to balance this against your current budget, and ensure you’re making the smart decisions.