Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Ignore the impulse buy

Impulse buy

Nothing can ruin a good budget like a purchase made on impulse, an item you don’t really need that costs too much, but one you feel you can’t leave behind in the store.

Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid purchasing random items on impulse, but there are a few steps you can take to keep on the straight and narrow.


Retail therapy can prove quite soothing, but your bank balance won’t thank you for it. For example, avoid shopping when feeling down, as it can often result in a batch of clothes that made you feel better in the changing room but in reality will gather dusty in your wardrobe. Don’t shop while hungry – if your stomach is rumbling then you’ll often leave the shop with more than you bargained.

Follow the rule

Establish a time rule for when you see an item that you really want but don’t need. Whether it’s an hour, day or month, put some distance between you and that purchase. You may find, on reflection, that you don’t really want it.

Calculate the value

Particularly if you’re buying big ticket items, measure the cost in terms of how many hours you’d have to work to pay for it. For example, if you’re earning €12 an hour and considering buying a fancy smart TV for €1,300, it would take you around 108 hours or almost three weeks to pay for it. Is it really worth it?


If you’ve got an issue with impulse buying, set aside a budget every month to cover random purchases. You’ll still be able to enjoy the thrill and get it out of your system, and won’t feel like a miser!


Each of us are different when it comes to impulse buys. Identify where you’re spending the extra money and try and avoid those outlets. For example, if you can’t help returning from your weekly trip to HMV without a new DVD or CD, perhaps you could find an alternative way to spend your time.

If you must spend, spend it cash. That way you can watch your hard-earned savings dwindle – it’s more real than looking at a decreasing online balance. Also, make sure you’re buying items that you can return if you get cold feet.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.