Last Minute Ways to Stop Impulse Buys and Save
Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 8:12 am
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!