Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Resisting the impulse buy


Impulse buy

Impulse buys are the bane of regular saving and tight budgets – particularly if you snap up something pricey (just because it’s on sale doesn’t always mean you’re saving money!). And, if you’ve ever been to IKEA, you’ll know just how difficult resisting such purchases can be at times. But there are ways to prevent impulse purchases in the first place, and avoid coming home with that fancy china egg holder you just know is going to change your life.

Patience is a virtue

Wait, wait, and wait a little more. Always put some time between yourself and such purchases, whether that’s 24 hours, a week or a month. You might just find yourself realising that you don’t need it at all.

Mood swings

Avoid shopping when you’re hungry or feeling down. Hungry shoppers tend to leave the store with more than they anticipated, tempted by those delicious smells floating around the shop. And, if you’re feeling sad, you might be more willing to part with your cash on something you think might cheer you up.

Always shop with a plan

Plan out your shopping trip, articularly if you’re doing the grocery shop. Take stock of what you’ve got in the cupboard at home, make a list of everything you need, and it’ll make it a little easier to avoid straying into the colourful biscuit section again. And, if you only intend on getting a few bits, avoid trolleys or baskets – it can be very easy to just fill a basket, so fill your arms instead.

Identify your weaknesses

If you’re like us, for example, you find it very difficult to emerge from a bookshop without the latest offering from John Grisham or Derek Landy (he speaks to all ages). Figure out where you’re most vulnerable during your shopping trips, and avoid those places where you can.


Set aside a budget for splurging every now and again. Whether it’s new clothes you don’t really need, or fancy food your waistline could do without, factor it into your weekly or monthly budgets, and get it our of your system without doing too much damage to your bank balance.

Cash is king

Pay in cash as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to part with your hard-earned cash if it’s being deducted by card in the digital realm, where you can’t physically watch it dwindling.

Do your homework

Research online when considering an impulse purchase, particularly for larger items like TVs or computers. You don’t want to end up with a lemon, and there are plenty of websites and forums filled with former owners just itching to tell you exactly why you shouldn’t waste your money on that particular model!

And remember – not all impulse purchases are bad. If you’re a big fan of custard doughnuts and Tesco is offering 3 for the price of 1, you should probably be on it like a flash!

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.