Frugal Living | The Saturday Weekly Review

How We Curb Our Impulse Buying: The Saturday Weekend Review #333

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Did you know that the most common impulse buys occur when you are bored?

Impulse buying happens to everyone, whether you are debt-free or not, for many reasons.

Anyone can fall into this trap who has available income in the form of cash, debit or credit cards.

Although that is true, there are other reasons why impulse buying motivates a consumer to spend money.

If you spend money spontaneously like we sometimes do let’s talk about the, “Why“.

What causes impulse buying and how it affects your budget and ways to put a stop to it?

Are we cured of our impulse buying? No, however, we continue to fight the battle using the following techniques.

Let me show you how.

What Is Impulse Buying?

The reason I wanted to discuss impulse buying is so that we can own up to our mistakes.

There are times when impulse buying may be a smart financial transaction and others, not so much.

For example, If we went into Costco and noticed that baby wipes were on sale for $15.99 instead of $22.99 and purchased 4 boxes instead of one is that impulse buying?

I consider that impulse sales that we weren’t aware of but use and will use. Typically one box would last us two months, but four would last us eight months.

We are saving $7.00 off each box on sale, and we justify the purchase this way.

7*6= 42

When there is a fantastic deal on an item we will use, buying in bulk is worth it for us and the 42 dollar savings.

This will hurt our monthly budget however it will save us in the long run throughout the rest of the year.

Perhaps the baby wipes never go on sale again, or the price increase?

Those would be typical questions we would ask ourselves before purchasing in-store impulse sales.

  • Do we need the item?
  • Is it on sale?
  • Can we find this item at a cheaper price?
  • What is the expiry date?
  • Can we afford it?

Remember, you have a grocery budget, and you will deviate from the amount you have budgeted.

Simplified, this means you either spend less on other items throughout the month or go over budget.

While being debt-free, it’s easy to say, just buy it because we can afford it.

The issue we are working on is how often we can do this?

Various Impulse Buying Names

Impulse buying falls under a few names that all mean the same thing, spending money on items you don’t need or do need as described above.

  • Shopping and you make an Impulse purchase
  • Using the web to purchase is Impulse online shopping
  • Impulse buying product display
  • In-store impulse sales
  • Spontaneous shopping
  • Unplanned buying

Impulse Buying Examples

Impulse buying lady with lots of shopping bags.
Lady shopping at Henry the Art Of Living

Let’s talk about impulse buying examples that perhaps you haven’t considered before.

  • Top of the list has to be impulse buying at the check-out. examples: chocolate bars, gums, magazines, gift cards, drinks etc.
  • In-store impulse sales that weren’t advertised Buy 1 watermelon Get 1 free but watermelon isn’t on your grocery list although you love it.
  • New product displays are cause for impulse buying because they are in your face and marketing can be pretty convincing to consumers.
  • Online ads that pop up on your mobile phone or computer contribute to unplanned buying.
  • Reduced products everything from food to home maintenance. These reduced sales are very tempting.
  • Limited product availability or one left in stock is a marketing ploy to encourage impulse buyers into making a purchase.

As you can see shoppers are up against quite a few discussions with themselves about impulse buying.

One of the worst impulse buying issues we deal with is our son, who is on the spectrum.

When he wanted to learn rollerblade, we bought him a pair, and they’ve been used once.

He’s into music, so we bought him a second-hand set of drums and a new keyboard.

Both are in the basement collecting dust, but on occasion, he gets on them.

As parents, impulse buying for our kids because they show interest in something is tough.

If we say no, is that a missed opportunity for the child or do we set boundaries with our budget?

Do we say no, we can’t afford it when we can?

We will have to sell the hockey helmet, rollerblades, hockey net, skating support and take a loss.

Thankfully, he loves soccer and we haven’t invested much apart from paying for lessons.

We’re still not giving up on the drums, guitar and keyboards because I need to clean up the area for him.

Questions To Ask Yourself

There are no right and wrong answers when impulse buying and your financial plan come together.

You either need it, or you don’t.

However, there are other questions you can use to justify impulse shopping especially if it’s a bad habit.

  • Would I buy it at full price?
  • Does if fall with-in my values? Budgeting, Saving Money.
  • Will I think about this item tomorrow or the next week?
  • Do I want this because everyone else has it or it’s trending?
  • How often would I use the item?
  • Will the Item still be worth something in 5 or 10 years?

You can continue to add questions to the above based on your money habits.

The more important aspect of impulse shopping is how badly you need it and can live without it.

Although that new burger at McDonald’s looks delicious do I really need it for $8?

Nah, I’ll go home and make 8 burgers for $11 worth of beef and a pack of burger buns.

Impulse Buying Behaviour

When impulse buying happens, whether online, at a store, mall, outdoor market or stands, our behaviour dictates how we react.

Use the questions above to make your decision; however, it’s your behaviour that you need to control.

Often times people shop with money they don’t have or money they do have because they are bored.

Some people have uncontrollable shopping habits that may need medical intervention.

For example, if you have a habit of buying far too much food with no budget in mind waste, that’s cause for concern.

There are people out there who buy way too much food and consider themselves grocery shopping addicts.

Sometimes this type of shopping can turn into hoarding situations which is a whole other topic.

Do you find yourself coming home with lots of bags after work because you shop to cool off after a rough day?

These behaviours whether happy, sad, overworked, tired or just taking a break from life can cost you money.

Putting The Brakes On Impulse Shopping

I wish I had all the answers for everyone reading this today but I don’t.

I can only offer our fighting battle of impulse shopping to keep our budget balanced.

This past month our grocery shopping category was over by $800 because we doubled up at Costco.

We did buy items, not on our shopping lists such as goat cheese, almonds and bath sheets.

Actually, far more than we had anticipated, we would.

Yes, we could have lived without the goat cheese, almonds and ricotta cheese.

The worst thing we do is shopping with a list and forget about it after 5 minutes of being in the store.

It’s as if our minds have been taken over by the lighting, employees, shopping carts, sales and trying to social distance.

For example, the ricotta was not on our list but we justify purchasing it because we forgot to add it to our list.

Nay nay… you leave it then. We’re at the end of the week now and haven’t touched the ricotta.

There’s plenty of food to eat in our house and a prime example of impulse buying at the grocery store.

How about shopping at an electronics shop and convincing yourself how cool it would be to have a bigger television?

Although, the bath sheets we’ve been waiting to come back at Costco and were on sale.

We bought 6 bath sheets at $14.99 each not on our shopping list but we grabbed them.

Would we buy them at full price?

We were according to Costco pricing so yes, we would have because we did.

Overall, impulse buying is something each of us has to learn to control individually.

Just remember that we all fall into financial traps and that nobody is perfect.

Continue to acknowledge why you are over budget or making impulse buying purchases.

You get the best when you give the best.


Discussion: Share any comments about this topic in the comments below. Please feel free to add examples, other tips I may have missed or how you stop or limit impulse buying.

Recent CBB Posts That You May Have Missed

Below is a recap of the blog posts I’ve published in the past week.

Support CBB and I’ll continue working to bring you the best information in frugal living and finance.

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Mr.CBB’s Thoughts and Quotes

This picture forms part of a day of work of my friend Gamaliel, it was captured when he was painting a mural and the purpose of the shot is to highlight the hard work behind each great project.

Luis Villasmil

Don’t give up just because you don’t believe in your journey because then you’ve already failed.

Frugal Recipe Idea

We have lots of metal skewers in our kitchen, but we have yet to use them. The blogger at Fabulously Frugal has come up with this popular kabob recipe that I’m going to try.

I’ll post pictures once I make them and tell you what I think about the taste.

They do look delicious and she has bacon in the ingredients, omg.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 slices raw bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Landscape And Garden Tip Of The Week

How to create a strawberry pallet planter box.
How to create a strawberry pallet planter box

We planted flowers in hanging baskets about three years ago because we have little space to plant a garden.

Our hanging baskets have become strawberry planters that are beautiful, especially the red strawberry flowers.

Basically, any garden pot that we have has been filled with herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.

I stumbled upon this website that teaches How To Make A Better Strawberry Planter.

Last week I had a pallet outside of the garage, and I cut it up when I could have made a planter box.

You will need the following materials, and you can find the full design and video following Tanya at Lovely Greens.

  • A suitable pallet as described above
  • Hand Saw or Jigsaw
  • Electric Drill
  • 4 cm (1-5/8″) Screws 
  • 8cm (3″) Screws

Saturday Search Term Giggles

Kermit The Frog - Google Search Terms on Canadian Budget Binder
Google Search Terms for Canadian Budget Binder

These are keywords that readers typed into their search engine and landed on this blog.

I get quite a few of these every day and pick some of the best to feature right here.

  • Why am I here : I don’t know, why are you here?
  • Looking for a chocolate recipe : I’m sure CBB did not dissapoint.
  • Parents are nosey about my money : You’re not alone many parents check their kids bank accounts.
  • Budget for Free – Hey, glad to see you found CBB and our free budgets.

That’s all for this Saturday, CBB Friends.


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