Last Minute Ways to Stop Impulse Buys and Save
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Last Minute Ways to Stop Impulse Buys and Save

Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 8:12 am
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Do you sometimes get a little carried away when you’re shopping? Do you find your cart overflowing with items you didn’t intend to buy as you approach the check-out? This can happen to the best of us. Sometimes items just seem to fly off the shelf and into our carts. Try using some of these last-minute shopping practices to cut back on impulse buys and save money!

  • Shop alone. Okay, so it might not be as fun, but you’ll be less pressured to buy. Let’s face it, shopping with friends isn’t always the most budget wise decision. After a shopping trip with my girlfriends, I’ll usually get home and realize most of my purchases are not things I wanted, but things they wanted. Same goes for shopping with kids – they tend to sneak their own impulse buys into the cart or talk us into buying more than we planned to.
  • Last minute cart check. Before you reach the check-out, stop and check your cart. How many items are impulse buys? Put at least one of them back. This will instantly save you money.
  • Look for cheaper alternatives. While your checking your cart for impulse buys, see if there are any name brands that you can swap for generic or store brands. Switching name brand items for generic ones can save you up to 50%.
  • Swap prepared foods for whole foods. For example, if you have prepared mashed potatoes in your cart, swap them for whole potatoes and make your own. Prepared foods are more expensive than the ingredients it takes to make them. This goes along with cooking from scratch to save.
  • Double-check for sales or coupons. First, double-check if anything you are buying has a similar alternative on sale for a lower price. Next, double-check for any extra coupons. Often, stores will have extra pamphlets around with coupons you might not have seen before your shopping trip.
  • Join a loyalty program. If you’re not already a member of the stores loyalty program, go ahead and join. Loyalty programs (not store credit cards) are free and will sometimes knock quite a bit off your total bill.


All of these shopping practices can be done last-minute, right before you check out. Taking a couple of minutes to think about your purchase before you finalize it will help you to be more aware of your spending and ultimately help you save money. When I’m shopping, I always ask myself, “Do I love it? Do I absolutely have to have it?” If the answers are yes, I’ll buy it. However, a lot of times the answers are no and I put it back. Asking yourself questions like these is a great way to stay on track and avoid impulse buys!


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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.