Monday, September 11, 2006

Impulse Buying

There's a saving exercise where you list the Top 3 things you spend/waste $ on. Last July, my list looked like this:

  1. Earrings
  2. Bags
  3. Eating out

I noticed that 2 out of 3 of my "splurges" were shopping related...more specifically, impulse shopping related. And out of the ashes of old impulse-buying receipts, a Shopping System was born. (Okay, maybe not that dramatic.) Anyhow...

  • Window shopping
    I clip magazine pictures of clothes, handbags, jewelry that I want, and they go into...
  • The Shopping Journal
    I come back to my Journal in a week or a month, and I ask myself if I still want it. If yes, it wins a place on...
  • The Shopping List
    This gets carried around with me on my Palm, and I group everything here as a "need" or "optional." The List has only one rule: I will only buy the item if it is exactly what I want. Down to the color of the stitching on the lining of the inside flap of the inner pocket. (Hey, if I don't completely love the thing when I buy it, I'll probably just waste more money replacing it later, right?)

    Whenever something stays on the List for a really long time, I erase it. If I ever want the thing later, it will probably make the list again...and if it doesn't, I probably won't miss it much.

The system is a little bit of tricking yourself - but it's really more about breaking the habit of impulse buying by giving myself time for rational thought beyond the "I want!" moment.

A friend of mine thinks my system is too restrictive. She shakes her head whenever she goes shopping with me because I have a nasty habit of taking everything that catches my eye into the fitting room, trying it, and leaving the store without buying anything at all. But I never feel deprived. On the contrary, I feel empowered that I've saved so much $ this way. So I guess the important thing is that everyone finds a system that works for him- or herself.

(FYI: I'm still working on the eating out bit.)


GolbGuru said...

Thats a good system of keeping away from impulses. You should try and go out without the Palm next time. If you really like something, you will remember it. If you dont remember it, then probably its not something you "need".

WH said...

I hope to graduate to that one day...for now though, the list "guides" me to make (mostly!) only carefully thought out purchases.