How to Quit Buying on Impulse

Impulse spending is a common habit that many of us wish we could break. You’re probably all too familiar with the scenario: Your monthly budget is humming along nicely, and then some highly desirable item or experience comes along that completely derails your plans.

Obviously, a slip up here or there is not usually a big deal… But when impulse spending becomes the norm, it likely results in month after month of failing to save, wracking up debt or mis-prioritizing your spending. Here are a few tips to help you break the habit of buying on impulse.

Get Rid of Subscription Services

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are now signed up for subscription services, and these services take many forms. Some are probably what you’re imagining: Subscription boxes with foods, beauty products, pet toys and other fun items that are delivered to your door each month. These services often cause you to get hooked on products you otherwise wouldn’t purchase, so they open up numerous new windows for impulse buying. But that’s not the only type of subscription service out there.

Another major culprit are subscriptions that promise free shipping. Think Amazon Prime or a similar service: Something where you pay an up-front cost to grant you free shipping for a year or more. These kinds of programs allow you to click “Buy” without the consequences of shipping costs, making it all too easy to buy things you don’t need. Cancel these types of subscriptions right away.

Cancel Catalogs

If you’re still receiving paper catalogs from your favorite retailers, it’s long past time to cancel them. Not only do they waste paper, they show you all the goods you never knew you wanted, inviting you to purchase things you don’t need.

Give Yourself a Two-Week Rule

A two-week rule (or longer, if it feels more appropriate) can be extremely helpful in regulating your spending. Next time you want to make a purchase, write it down in your journal, planner or phone. If in two weeks you’re still thinking about the purchase, you know you’re really interested, and can feel good about spending your money on that item. But if you’ve forgotten about it entirely or your enthusiasm has waned, you’ll know not to waste your money.

Spend in Cash

Credit and debit cards make it far too easy to spend our hard-earned cash (or to go into debt). Each week, decide upon a budget for any shopping, dining out or other extraneous purchases you’d like to make. Deal in cash all week long so that if you run out of your allowed “fun money,” you won’t be able to purchase anything. This practice can make you much smarter about how you decide to spend your money.

Limit Social Media Use

Finally, with all the ads attached to services like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, social media browsing has become the new window shopping. If you find that you often get sucked in by Facebook ads or YouTubers telling you how much they love a product, make it a personal rule to reduce the amount of time you spend on these social channels. If you never really wanted those fancy yoga pants until you saw your friend posting about them on Facebook, you probably don’t need them.

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Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for posting

Danuta W
Danuta W9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Thomas M
Past Member 10 months ago

thank you

Angela AWAY K
Angela K10 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Melanie S

Pay off and cancel credit cards

Winn A
Winn Adams10 months ago


RICKY S10 months ago


Julie W
Julie W10 months ago

Well, I hate shopping, so sometimes buying on impulse is the only way I ever get any shoes or clothes! And I usually know if it appeals to me now I will continue to like it. But it doesn't happen very often, as I don't spend much time in shops!

Carole R
Carole R10 months ago

Thanks for the tips.

Mona M
Mona M10 months ago

Thank you. Be in touch with your heart and you will never be influenced.