What Motivates Impulse Buying and How to Overcome It

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In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the topic of impulse buying and specifically explore what motivates this behavior. From triggers to psychological factors, we’ll delve into the underlying causes of impulse buying, and most importantly, we will provide you with practical tips and strategies to help you overcome the urge to make impulsive purchases. Whether you’re looking to improve your financial habits or simply want to gain more control over your spending, this article has something for you. So, let’s get started and explore what motivates impulse buying and how to overcome it.

What Does Impulse Buying Mean?

Most of us are guilty of impulse buying. When you see something that you want, you buy it right away. There’s no deliberation, no thought process and no rationalization; you just buy it. The truth is that impulse buying makes us feel good in the moment. However, later on we often feel regretful when we realize this purchase wasn’t necessary in the first place. How do we curb impulse buying? There are some simple steps you can take to get rid of this bad habit for good.

What Causes Impulse Buying?

Despite what you might think, impulse buying isn’t the same as shopping. Impulse buying is a strong feeling that makes you buy things you don’t need or even want. It’s easy to understand why impulse buying exists—we live in a fast-paced world where instant gratification rules most of our choices, from what we eat to what we wear. We come across so many beautiful things every day that it’s no wonder we sometimes go against our best judgements and decide to buy them on impulse.

Impulse buying is something that we all face in our day to day lives. Although impulse buying has a bad name, it can be helpful in certain cases. It can, after all, help us save money by not indulging in extravagance. But when impulsive spending leads to debt and financial hardship, it becomes a bad habit that needs to be stopped, and here’s how you can stop it for good.

What Motivates Impulse Buying?

Whether it’s picking up a box of chocolates at the grocery store or purchasing a $50,000 car on a whim, impulse buying is something that we can’t control 100% of the time. To be clear, impulse buying isn’t always bad. Because as humans, we are naturally impulsive creatures and don’t always think about the consequences of our actions before we act. For example, if you see an old friend who you haven’t seen in years and they ask you to grab lunch together — you’re going to say yes without thinking twice about it because you’re with your friend, who you haven’t seen in ages. But if you had to think about every action before it happened, your life would be pretty boring and devoid of many great moments. This is why impulse buying happens so often with products and services that don’t fall into this category. We’ve all been there before. You’re really hungry and you see some pizza on sale at your favorite grocery store; suddenly your hunger disappears as quickly as it came on and before you know it

Rule out impulse buys: Before going shopping for items that aren’t necessary, ask yourself this question: Do I really need this? Sometimes we do need items that are on sale or buy things we might not have enough money for, but if the answer is no, don’t do it! Avoid going shopping when you’re hungry or tired – Hunger and fatigue tend to make people vulnerable to impulse buys. When your body is low on energy and glucose, it will send signals to your brain telling it that it needs food and rest. This makes people crave for things they don’t really need at the moment, like junk food and coffee. If possible, try not to shop when you’re hungry or tired so that temptations won’t be strong enough to make you spend money on things that aren’t really necessary for your well-being.

Create a Budget

Create a budget for yourself and stick to it. This will help you decide what you can spend your money on. Whether you write this budget down or keep it in your head doesn’t matter as much as actually having one in place so that you know where every dollar goes before it goes there. Once you decide where you’re going to spend your money, you won’t feel as bad when you go over budget because it’s your own fault. You’ll also be able to quickly see where your extra spending is going so you can cut back in other areas if need be.

Pay With Cash

Before each purchase, make sure that you have enough cash available in your wallet to pay for everything. If there is not enough cash available, then either go somewhere else or wait until the next day when you can get more cash from the bank or ATM. This will prevent you from overspending on impulse purchases since there will be no credit card in sight. Keep your credit cards at home or in your wallet when you go shopping. That way, if an item catches your eye and tempts you, you don’t have the means right there to buy it.

Take a Moment

If you’re already feeling the urge to buy something, and you know it’s not going to be in your best interest to do so, distract yourself. Don’t let yourself run up your credit card by buying things you don’t need. Go for a walk, read a book or watch TV. The urge will pass if you give it enough time. If you can’t fight the impulse to make an unnecessary purchase, then at least put off making the purchase until tomorrow. The momentary satisfaction you might get from purchasing an item won’t last long enough to outweigh the regret that will follow when your credit card statement arrives in the mail.

In the end, the most important lesson is to avoid turning shopping into a habit. Even if you’re not an impulse buyer, it’s best to train yourself first before going out shopping. Focus on your family and friends instead of material items. You can do this by learning to say “no” to errands and other items that can weaken your relationships with family and friends. Once you get in the habit of saying “no” to things that will hamper your relationships and focusing more on said relationships, you will find it easier to ward off compulsive buying habits.


Understanding what motivates impulse buying is crucial in order to overcome it. It can be a combination of triggers, emotions, and psychological factors that lead to impulsive purchases. However, by being aware of these motivations, setting clear goals and budget, creating a shopping list and sticking to it, and avoiding impulse buying situations, you can take control of your spending habits and improve your financial future.

Remember, impulse buying is a natural tendency that we all face at some point in our lives, but with the right tools and strategies, we can learn to recognize and overcome it. It’s important to remember that taking control of your finances takes time, patience and a bit of self-discipline, but with dedication and commitment, you can overcome impulse buying and create a healthier financial future for yourself.