10 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

How many people do you know who are fairly decent at budgeting, but then BAM, their closet is spilling over and they can be found at the mall every weekend? I’ll let you in on a secret: that used to be me.

Shopping was such an emotional habit for me. I’d shop when I was bored, when I was lonely, when I was stressed, when I was procrastinating. Shopping made me feel better for a little bit, but it wasn’t solving anything.

The worst part of it was that I was buying a lot of cheap, poor quality clothes. But my closet quickly became filled with, so put it bluntly, a whole lot of crap.

It wasn’t until I moved that I realized just how much junk I had. For someone who has moved 7 times in the past two years, that was a lot of baggage to carry around. Something needed to change.

Now, I still love to shop, but I have definitely curbed my impulse shopping habit. Here’s 10 steps I took to stop emotional shopping:

Clean out your closet

This is the only way to see just how much stuff you have bought and things you haven’t even worn. When I cleaned out my closet, I realized I was getting rid of hundreds of dollars of clothes that I had not worn once. What a waste!

Research classic, staple items you need to build a solid wardrobe

No matter your personal style, figure out the basics. You likely will want a nice coat, a few pairs of quality jeans, some black heels, etc. Write these things down! They are items you will want to invest in and maybe even splurge on. Predict how many years of use you can get out of each item.

Make a list of all clothes you need, and which season they fit

Keeping a running list of every item of clothing you need will serve you in so many ways. If you’re having a moment of weakness and want to impulse shop, you can use this list to make sure you’re buying only things you actually need. This list also provides opportunities to find more items on sale because you know what you’re looking for.

Be smart and buy at the end of the season

Have you ever noticed how swimsuits go on super sale at the end of summer? When at the beginning of summer, they are ridiculously expensive? When you create a list of exactly what you need, you can be on the look out for these end-of-season deals and can save a ton of money.

Sure, you might miss out on buying the hottest trends of the season, but trends come and go anyway. To me, spending money on timeless pieces that I can wear for years to come is worth far more than buying a new trendy piece every single year.

Save up for high quality pieces

If you are buying an item that you will wear almost daily, then it is worth it to splurge on a higher quality. For example, when I lived in Iowa, it was imperative that I had a winter coat. I wore it every day for almost 6 months out of the year, so it was worth it to invest in a higher quality coat versus a cheap one. Plus, it kept me nice and toasty 🙂

If it’s not on your list, no buying!

This will force you to really think through your purchases ahead of time and eliminate any possible impulses.

Acknowledge your emotions before shopping

Be aware of how you feel and be honest with yourself. Are you shopping because you’re trying to fill a void, or are you truly shopping because you need clothes?

Ask yourself how many wears you’ll get out of that outfit

Calculating cost per wear is a great guideline to know if something is actually worth it. You can learn more about it here.

Only buy clothes you absolutely LOVE

If you’re like me, half the stuff you buy on impulse is total junk. Maybe it was on sale or maybe you were just feeling emotional while buying it. If clothes don’t make you feel great, then they aren’t worth buying.

This can be a hard lesson to learn for some who view clothes as simply functional. Clothes can say so much about you, so I encourage people to spend time and money dressing themselves in a way that makes them feel great.

Have fun and shop on!

Shopping can still be fun, even while trying to curb impulse shopping and while sticking to a budget. Be smart about your purchases and be in tune with your emotions and you can’t go wrong.

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9 thoughts on “10 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

  1. So true I noticed the same thing I buy a lt when I am bored so shopping help but since I have a budget I wrote an approved list of items I can buy and I tend to follow it strictly, do a declutter of my closet at least 3 times per year choosing what donate and what elimiate, buying good quality clothes that can be reused several time with the entire wardrobe I already have

    1. Sticking to a list is hard, especially when you see a sale! I try hard and do okay at this but there is definite room for improvement.

  2. While I’ve never been a huge fan of shopping, I came to a similar realization a few years ago when I moved out of my parent’s house. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I had acquired over my lifetime. I cut it down a lot, but after moving two more times, I said enough’s enough. I threw out/donated everything I hadn’t touched since I originally moved, and I managed to make my final move with just my car. I never thought I could do that, so it was a nice milestone to reach.

    That said, I used to be cheap as well, and my closet reflected that. Somehow, I’ve been able to keep most of my clothes in good shape, but I’m now a fan of buying quality (paying more) and having it last for years. For that reason, I keep my wardrobe simple. Fashion has never been in my vocabulary anyway. 😉
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…How Value-Based Spending Improved My Relationship With MoneyMy Profile

    1. Agreed! I’m not buying expensive designer clothes by any means, but paying a little more for a quality, classic piece that is built to last saves me more money in the long run. Plus, I probably like it better and will wear it more!

    1. My fiance does the same thing! He has a rainbow of the same button down shirt. Guess I should start doing that! 🙂

  3. I’ve been guilty of this myself, but awareness of this behavior is the key! I couldn’t agree more about buying high quality items, they last so much longer and fit much better.

    Great post 🙂

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