How to break the habit of impulse buying

Men spend more on those purchases than women

via CBS News

With so many bargains this summer, you may be tempted to shop on a whim. You’re not alone: A new CNBC/SurveyMonkey poll found that nearly 90 per cent of Americans make impulse purchases. And despite what you might believe, men spend more on those purchases than women.

When people make impulse purchases, most are pretty tame. Just 19% of people say they spent more than $100 the last time they made an impulse purchase. Exactly half (50%) say they spend between $10 and $100, and nine percent say they spent less than $10. But, a staunch 11% say they never made impulse purchases, and eight percent didn’t know how much they spent.

“I think that women are more practical and they’re more frugal even when they splurge, contrary to stereotypes,” said Charisse Jones, USA Today’s national business correspondent.

“Men might buy, you know, bigger-ticket items, like they might want to get electronics, [whereas] women are going for a pair of shoes, or a mascara, or lip gloss. So there’s a lot of stereotypes that we spend a lot more, but we actually, when we splurge, we’re thinking about that family budget,” Jones added.

Jones admitted that ignoring the impulse to spend is hard for everyone, especially because stores try to tempt you. “They give you an offer you can’t refuse — they say it’s 50 percent off, or two-for-one — so you feel you’d be foolish to pass it up,” she said. They also try to develop a spending-friendly atmosphere, playing music to relax consumers and lower their defenses and create a maze to get to the cash register that forces buyers to pass other enticing products along the way.

Jones also offered tips on how to break the habit. “You should give yourself a little break,” before buying, Jones said. “You can wait 24 to 48 hours and say, ‘Do I really think those sneakers are that cute or do I need to save my money?'”

She also suggested leaving credit cards at home because only bringing cash limits how much you can spend and makes you much more “conscious” of what you’re purchasing.

And while she acknowledged that it’s not always a bad thing to impulse buy, she said it’s important to create a “fun money” budget to cut down on costs. “But make sure you pay your other bills first,” she cautioned.

“It’s fine to do it sometimes,” she said. “You just have to be smart about it.”

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