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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.

MORE: Avoid the Vanity Sizing Trap

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.

RESEARCH: What Can Buy You Happiness

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.

Another effective strategy is to bring a friend. It is easier to resist temptation when you have someone with you as support. When your eye wanders toward a new dress that you don’t need, your friend can drag you along to another department. Just make an agreement ahead of time that you are going to keep each other’s impulses in check.

QUIZ: What's Your Body Shape?

The third thing you can do is to delay. Impulse is strongest when you see something and react. When you are tempted to make an impulse purchase, walk away for a while. Go somewhere else in the store and keep shopping. If the product that captivated you is still appealing later in the shopping trip, you can go back and get it. This is just a fancy way of counting to 10 before you go ahead and buy something that you might not need.

These three simple tips will help you from adding more lonely trial sizes to your makeup drawer.

MORE: Dress for Your Body Shape, Not Your Impulses

Thinkstock
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.

MORE: Avoid the Vanity Sizing Trap

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.

RESEARCH: What Can Buy You Happiness

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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