We all impulse shop.  It’s what great marketing does!  It draws our attention to problems we didn’t know we had and to  wanting something we think will make our lives better!  It’s amazing to me that in this economic climate we constantly talk about saving money yet, did you know that impulse spending is higher than ever?   We spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars every year on items that we see and impulsively buy while we are out shopping.  $30 a week compounds to over $1500 a year in excess spending!  (I know there are a few of you rolling your eyes thinking you actually went over that $30 dollar amount last week…. Gulp!)

Here are some facts on impulse buying:

  • 88% of impulse purchases are made because the item was on sale.  Try to keep in mind, although it’s on sale, it still costs money!
  • Impulse buyers tend to make purchases because it improves their mood – not because the item is useful or necessary.   Emotional spending is like emotional eating…but that’s another story!
  • Shoppers make an average of 3 unplanned purchases during 40% of all store visits.  Yikes!  (Those guilty eyes rolling again?  Well…your not alone…)
  • 25% of unplanned purchases are clothing items. 14% are food items.   Those sweets near the check-outs don’t JUST tempt the little ones!
  • When people shop with the purpose of buying immediate needs for forgotten items, the rate of compulsive buying drops 53%.  This means we need to get a good ol’ fashioned shopping list… and stick to it. Get in. Get out.
  • Shoppers who drive to the store, rather than walking, are 44% more likely to make an impulse purchase.  (Especially those who impulsively buy from the white goods section!… ha ha.. OK, this is no joking matter…)
  • When the shopping trip is unplanned, impulse purchases go up 23%.  (Depending of course how many children you have with you and if you are in your favourite shoe shop!)
  • Shop with your partner.  Men are not as likely to justify every purchase you make with a smile, nudge and a giggle like a kindred-spirited girlfriend or sister!

Some tips to avoid impulse purchases

It takes some discipline, effort and willpower, but you can curb those impulsive spending habits!

  • Plan your trip. Then make a list and stick to it. For those of us on a budget, impromptu shopping trips and shopping without a list can be a treacherous situation!  When we shop without direction or even just emotionally, we find that our low self-esteem can get us into a lot of trouble.
  • Go on foot when possible. If you have to carry your purchase any distance, you’ll think twice about whether you really need that extra piece of clothing, heavy cutlery set or grand piano!
  • Don’t shop hungry…eat before you go otherwise I, oh, I mean you, could head straight to the food court! . You know this one! When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you don’t need simply to satisfy immediate cravings rather than the actual needs of your own home requirements.
  • Think on it. If you really want that item badly enough, you’ll still want it just as badly two days from now. Most stores will let you put an item on hold for up to a day, allowing you to decide whether or not you really want it.  It works as well for children who throw tantrums for things and you feel so stressed and tired, it’s so tempting to scream “Fine!” at them and put it in the trolley.  I tell my little ones that we need to go and get some money so let the lady “hold onto it for a while and we will come back later”  The salesperson behind the desk usually ‘reads’ your wink and pops it behind the counter.  I can guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, your little one will not remember to come back once you have walked away!! Practice the art of distraction.

Source: Delia Passi and “The Impulse Shopping Fact Sheet.” Infographics.com, 2010