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Controlling Your Impulse Shopping Urge

Resist impulse buys with these three tips.

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window shopping

Store designers are smart.

You walk into a department store, and you have to walk past the makeup and jewelry before you can look at clothes and shoes. Along the way, salespeople offer you free samples of perfumes and other products. You might even get a free makeover.

And before you know it, you may have bought a new cream or foundation, particularly because it came along with four other sample-size products for free.

You didn’t walk into the store hoping to buy new makeup. It leapt out at you, and you couldn’t say no. Worse yet, you get home and realize that you probably didn’t need what you bought, and most of the samples will sit in a drawer with other samples you bought on previous shopping trips.

You just got trapped by the cure of impulse shopping.

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Basically, all people are wired to favor good things in the short-term over good things in the long-term. This tendency causes us to buy things on impulse and also to eat that piece of cake we shouldn’t have, and to have one more margarita. 

Here are three tips to help you minimize the number of things you buy on impulse.

Your best defense is a list. When you go to any store, make a list of the things you need. Studies show that you are much less likely to come home with things that you didn’t want when you bring a list with you.

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It is easy to make a list for trips to the supermarket. For other kinds of shopping, it can be harder. For makeup, get in the habit of keeping track of which products are running low. When you are forced to walk through the field of cosmetics at the store, and you find yourself tempted, pull out your list and make sure that you actually need what you are considering.

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