For those who might not familiar with impulsive buying, it is when you were walking casually at a shopping mall and suddenly you see a pair of jeans you like. The next thing you know, you were already on your way home with the jeans.

Impulsive buying is actually not a bad thing if you have excess money and you really needed the items. But for those who were on a budget, it will ruin everything. Hence, compiled below are some of tips I would recommend to combat that budget wrecker.

1) Don’t go there
How can you spend money at a mall if you were not there in the first place. I’m not saying we should collect dust at home. I’m just saying, that if there is nothing to do, just relax at home or do other thing productive instead of window shopping at the mall.

I would define Window shopping as the process of convincing yourself that there are things to buy 🙂

2) Walk away
You’ve been dragged to the mall. It would be unwise to walk with your eyes closed. And now that you’re there be prepared to be tempted by attractive things. But when you did see something you think of buying, just physically walk away.

Make it as if your leg is being remote-controlled by another person. What I personally do is to convince myself that if after a thinking period of ONE DAY, and I still want that item, I will come back and buy it. Most of the time, by the time I’m home, I’ve already lost interest

3) Research first
I make it a rule, that anything with a price tag of 3 digit figure will require some research before buying. This especially applied for electronic items.

Go back and do some research. Check for review and complaints from other users. If the long hour researching doesn’t dampen you desire, the whining complaints will

4) Don’t go to mall after salary
There’s something about how our brain works that when we just received our paycheck, we are more compromising when it come to buying things. “I earned this”, “Money can only have value when spent” – these are some of the persuasive argument that WILL definitely comes to mind

5) No credit card
Thanks to the financial system around the world, we can actually time travel to the future and borrow money from our future us. Using your credit card is like you are receiving your paycheck everyday. The best way is to give it to your spouse. The more frugal the spouse the better 🙂

6) Minimum cash in wallet
Why do we even need to have $1000 in our wallet? Leave some at home, or better yet save it in the bank. Here’s a more cruel way. Start by only having $100 in your wallet. Maintain this for 2 months. After the 2 months, if you think $100 is definitely not enough. Increase it by $20.

7) Never talk to the sales person
These people are trained to convince you that you will die if you don’t purchase the item now. Not later.. now 🙂 No offense to the sales person reading. You are all so good, it is terrifying

Only talk to them when you know more about the product that them, which generally means.. research research research.

8] Write your dream in a paper
If you want to own a house in 2 years. Put it all in paper. If you can include the price and how much you have saved now, that would be great.

When that impulsive buying gene kicks in, take out that paper and read it out loud (not to the sales person please, that would be embarassing)

9) Video yourself advising
Now that almost all mobilephones are equipped with video camera, why not we record ourselves advising us not to give in to that desire. Make it a 1 minutes video.

I can guarantee you that after watching the video 10 times, you will no longer need the phone to watch. It will be replayed over and over in your head. Annoying but very productive (money wise)

10) Understanding marketing
Do you know why there are so much colorful junk food very near to the cashier counter? Believe me, they are all intentionally. Cashier counter is the one place in the mall where you actually spend several minutes there in line. Bored, you will be looking for something interesting to look at, and what do you know, there’s a lot of colorful junk food there 🙂

There are a lot more. And when you understand this, you will know what it is you are fighting for. Why else do you think the items used the most almost always at the end of the shop? 🙂

11) Bring someone
You must know a friend who is very frugal, in other word stingy. This friend is the most useful when you bring along to buy items. Seek advice from them on whether it is necessary to buy or not. Most of the time, they will offer their advice voluntarily. Another “Annoying but very productive” case.

12) Make it rewarding to walk away
It take a lot of effort to see an item you really like and to walk away from it. Reward this. I would recommend giving yourself $1 for everytime you succeed in walking away from impulsive buying. The reward money is a no-guilt money, meaning you can buy anything you want with that money. No question asked.

– I wonder –
Do you have any other tips to combat impulsive buying? Please share

———- Personal Note ———-
There’s a very fine line between being stingy and frugal. It is in my opinion that stingy is when that expenditure is obligatory and still you want to avoid it. A stingy man will not repair his car seat belt in the name of being frugal. While a frugal man will not tolerate safety. He will try to save from other mean.

Suddenly I remembered the classic movie of Haji Bakhil Bin Lebai Kedekut 🙂

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This post has 14 comments.

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  1. 20 Feb 08 6:35 am

    good morning! very usefull tips u got there. sesuai utk org2 mcm saya.

    lagi satu tips yang saya rasa berkesan, stiap kali keluarkan duit dr atm, katalah RM100, divide siap2 duit tu ikut ape yg kita perlu dlm different envelopes. contoh : RM20 dlm envelope ‘mkn’, RM20 dlm envelope ‘pljrn’,and so on.
    jd bila kebetulan nampak something yg kite teringin, we will start to think, the money from which envelope that we would have to sacrifice?.
    believe me, masa keluarkan duit dr envelope tu utk byr (kalo tetap degil nk beli) saya akan mula risau “pas ni nk mkn guna duit ape lak?” (kalo saya sacrificekan duit mkn utk beli benda tu.)
    to avoid dissapointment to ‘easily-dissapointed-girls-when cannot-buy-something’ like me, every month i would put aside 25 ringgit in 1 envelope and labeled it ‘lain-lain’. kalau tiba2 teringin nk beli something, saya terpaksa tunggu lagi berbulan2 supaya 25 ringgit tu sum up. so, when the time comes, i lost interest/ found something cheaper.

    saja nk berkongsi. berkesan utk saya. mungkin akan berkesan utk org lain.terutama students with pinjaman/biasiswa. hehe
    anyway, thanks banji for the great article. 🙂

  2. filantera`
    20 Feb 08 10:30 am

    great advice…..:P
    another tips will be
    try to remember one useless thing we ever bought everytime ada keinginan:D

  3. banji
    20 Feb 08 6:23 pm

    wilda – very practical tips. When we put it in the envelope, we know exactly what will be affected when we misuse the money

    in the end, duit tu mcm benda lain jugak. kalau digunakan akan habis. kalau selama ni kita tak beli apa2 duit habis, tiba2 bulan ni kita beli tv, for sure akan ada bahagian hidup kita yg terjejas, makan maggi tiap2 ari 🙂 been there

    siap yakinkan diri lagi yg msg takde effect 🙂

    filantera – somehow that piece of advice seem very personal. I’m sure you must be practising it. A very good tips if I may add

    Hm let see, my most useless thing I ever bought is (I am actually looking around the house.. sitting of course).. I’ll get back on this later 🙂

  4. 20 Feb 08 6:59 pm

    Makes sense… Perfect sense.

    But cannot do lah. Haha.

  5. 20 Feb 08 10:46 pm

    remember the pain,
    I’ve wrote something in my blog about enjoying your pain when u’re having one. so that u’ll appreciate your state of ‘painless’ better.

    ever felt those guilty feeling after u’ve bought something big and pricey? well remember those guilty feelings and imagine the feelings again before any purchases be made.

    hopefully by doing so can make u think twice 😀
    Bought me self the book
    ‘Men from mars & women from venus’
    didnt felt any guilt buying dat book.
    (Well its just 30 something so…)

  6. banji
    20 Feb 08 11:52 pm

    pamsong – hm care to elaborate on why it can’t be done? 🙂

    DaPocket – Remember the pain of not having money. I think that can work. However, personally.. I am not that sharp at remembering emotion. And thus the suggestion on recording ourself advising.

    Maybe to combine both tips, we can make the recording while we are in the pain of not having the money. That should do the trick 🙂

  7. […] 12 Unique Tricks To Combat Impulsive offers up some useful advice for combating the urge to spend for the sake of spending. I know it’s neat, but do you really need that pen with the Elmo-shaped click-button that glows in the dark and writes underwater?Tags: buying, shopping, self-control […]

  8. e-satis
    26 Feb 08 6:37 pm


    You can follow the one week rule as well. It means you can buy anything you do not currently need but you must wait a week before you do so.

    Most of the time it will let you decide if you finally really want this stuff. You will buy less, and more usefull. what’s more, if you buy useless crap, you are sure, at least, that it’s crap you really really wanted.

    In brief : usual trick, take the habit for 30 days to always buy what you don’t need to live one week after you’ve seen it in a mall.

  9. banji
    26 Feb 08 8:40 pm

    e-satis – good addition to the list – One Week Rule. But a week huh? hmm I definitely will stop buying most of my things then 🙂 But that is the whole point right? Anything worth buying after one week of thinking and thinking must be worth buying.. period

    Welcome to the blog e-satis. Your ideas are always welcomed here

  10. e-satis
    26 Feb 08 10:35 pm

    Thanks. Anyway, I usually post few comments since I prefer to read and try before opening my big mouth. My french pairs use to talk a lot but act don’t often follow.

    Good luck for the next articles. There is more and more “dejà vue” on, so it’s good to see there is some nice alternative blogs.

  11. banji
    28 Feb 08 1:46 am

    e-satis – By all mean, type away your comments here. That’s the very nature of this blog in the beginning. Anyway… thanx for the support. It will take me years to reach that high level as that of lifehack. But I will work my hardest to reach there.

    Your support here reading / commenting will definitely be motivating 🙂 Enjoy your stay here e-satis

  12. 05 Mar 08 12:09 am

    Ola…fuh…lama tak ngomen…topik yg sungguh menarik…well…for me…biasa la…everything i buy msti ade plan nye…Klo p mall,i dah plan berapa byk i akan spend sblm bergerak…so i akan bawa cash limited aje…let say nak beli jeans herga 50..i’ll only bring 80 only…30 itew simpan la tok kecemasan ke…nak mkn ke..minum ke…tambang ke…NEVER bring so much $$$ krn godaan mall itew mmg tak dpt di hindar..Agagagaga…

  13. banji
    05 Mar 08 7:33 pm

    aRa – welcome back aRa, really miss your comments here 🙂 good for you, and really respect those who can abide to their budget.

  14. […] stop any over spending. If you budget a little tighter you are able to help your bad credit by paying off more of the […]

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