Guilty Money Secrets: Impulse Buys

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If you often give in to impulse buying, you’re not alone.
Impulse buying has become a part of our consumer-driven society. You might set out for a loaf of bread and a light bulb but, thanks in part to the power of advertising and the ready availability of credit, you could easily come home with a whole new wardrobe. Buying on impulse is often a guilty little secret, something most of us would prefer to avoid admitting to but have probably done – more than once.


Men are more likely to splurge

Impulse buying – and overspending while doing it – is something most often associated with female spending habits. However, a study by creditcards.com revealed that men actually spend more on impulse purchases than women do. 21% of the men interviewed for the survey had spent $500 or more on an impulse purchase, compared to just 7% of women. In comparison, women spent just $25 per impulse purchase.

Young vs. old; graduates vs. non-graduates

This research revealed some interesting information about those more likely to be susceptible to impulse purchasing. For example, young people are much more likely to make a purchase spontaneously and without thinking about the consequences. According to the study, 90% of Millennials admitted to impulse purchases, compared to just 56% of seniors. The research also showed that whether or not you went to college might have an impact on whether you allow yourself to impulse purchase. College graduates were far more likely to impulse buy than those who didn’t graduate from college.

If you’re female, you’ll feel guilty about it

Interestingly, although men tended to be the biggest impulse buyers, they were also less likely to feel guilty about over-spending. 46% of men said they felt guilty about the impulse purchases they made – compared to 52% of women. So there’s a pretty big disconnect between the sexes when it comes to justifying spontaneous spending.

Impulse buying – why do we do it?

We all have very different reasons for making impulse purchases, which could range from feeling like celebrating to feeling really down. Men, however, are more likely to make impulse purchases after having a few drinks. Women on the other hand tend to resort to this kind of shopping in response to feeling sad. Either way, we rarely make an impulse buy when we’re feeling ‘normal.’

How to control the urge to impulse buy

If you’re one of the 75% of people who regularly impulse buy and you’re looking for a way to stop then there are some simple options to help yourself. These tips can help you avoid mounting debt, damaging your credit score and having to resort to bad credit loans to fund your spending habits:

• Develop an awareness of urges, temptation and mood swings and learn to handle them differently

• Avoid going online when you’re in a place where you might be susceptible to advertising

• Never ‘browse’ or ‘window shop’

• Budget and keep track of your spending

• Cut up your credit cards and force yourself to spend cash

• Don’t go shopping with another impulse buyer

• Do something else – if you feel the urge to buy then go for a walk, do some exercise, read a book, call someone for a chat or make a cake. Distract yourself and the urge will most likely pass.

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