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Saturday, June 19, 2021

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What Triggers Your Impulse Buying? 

It’s been more than seven years since I’ve shopped at Target. I know this is shocking to read, but I had a shopping addiction. I would just go in while my eldest was in preschool and browse the clearance section or pick up this or that. I knew I had a spending problem when I looked at my credit card statement and saw that I spent $300 a month unnecessarily. 

Stores have something called store atmospherics. Atmospherics are the controllable characteristics of retail space which entice customers to enter the store, shop and stop at point of purchase displays. This combined with price discounts are the biggest triggers of impulse buying. You’ve fallen under the store’s spell if you have positive feelings of excitement, curiosity, ease and comfort while in their store.

While my rationale was extreme, you don’t have to quit shopping. You can still shop your favorite store by using these helpful tips to control impulse buys. 

  • Before you go shopping, ask yourself if there are certain emotional triggers that prompt you to shop.
  • Why are you shopping now and are there certain times you feel the need to shop? 
  • How does shopping make you feel? 

Grab impulse buying by the horns and have a list. Have a budget and stick to it. Give yourself permission to spend. Lastly, have a “wait and see” approach when spending. Wait at least 24 hours before you make the purchase.

The “wait and see” attitude towards spending is not only helpful in brick and mortar stores but also with online shopping. Controlling the urge to one-click shop may be even harder than when you actually had to get dressed, comb your hair and swipe your credit card at the register. When online shopping, leave your desired item in your shopping cart for 24 hours, and before you click to pay, ask yourself “Do I really need it? Do I have a place for it? 

“Can I afford it?”

I’ve taught my children this mantra and while they get frustrated that they can’t have it now or that I don’t think they deserve it (even when it’s their money), they eventually see the value in it. My 12-year-old has realized he doesn’t need an Xbox360, and my 8-year-old has shopped around and purchased the Mandalorian Lego set cheaper somewhere else. They’ve grown to be thankful and understand that I only have their best interests at heart. While this advice is a shopping technique, it also gives them a piece of financial freedom. 

Many people make impulse purchases to forget about financial problems or feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. Keep these tips in mind if your desired purchase is scooped up by someone else while you “wait and see” and have the peace of mind knowing it wasn’t meant to be. Plus, you’ve saved time by not having to return it. 

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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