8 Ways to Curb Impulse Buying

Whether you shop at Costco or at Tiffanys, the strategies for putting a halt to mindless purchases are the same.

1. Browse your favorite store — without buying.

impulse_shoppingNotice what thoughts and emotions bubble up as you scan the shelves. Do you have that “wanting, craving, grasping” feeling? Then notice how you feel after you exit the store empty-handed.

Saying no is an empowering feeling. You think, ‘Oh my gosh, I caught myself,’ and you remember that feeling next time you go shopping.

2. Scrutinize the stuff in your house.

Take a hard look inside your drawers, cabinets, and closets. Are they crowded with items you never use? What prompted you to buy those items, and how did you feel when you brought them home? Did the purchases satisfy your needs? How will it feel to own even more shoes, earrings, or vintage salt-and-pepper shakers?

3. Don’t shop unless you feel centered and relaxed.

Hitting the stores when you’re sad, mad or stressed is like walking into a bakery with those same emotions swirling: it’s a ticket to overindulgence and remorse. Look for other ways to nurture your emotional needs. When you feel sad, call a friend. When you feel bored, start a new book. When you feel mad, go for a power walk.

4. Pause before each purchase and do an honest check-in.

Ask yourself “Do I really need this or do I just want it? Can I afford it? How many hours will I have to work to cover this purchase? How will I feel if I bring it home? Does my home have space for this?”We are constantly under pressure — from the media, from sophisticated advertisers and marketing experts — to buy without thinking, so it’s critical to step back and reflect. Unless we practice building that muscle of inquiry, it stays weak. Just taking that little pause can make a huge difference. Before making a major purchase, make it a big pause — for a few weeks at least. Then see if buying that kayak, TV, or mini-van still seems like a good idea.

5. Shop with a list, and don’t buy anything that’s not on it.

If you truly need new athletic shoes, fine, head to the store and buy a pair. But don’t walk into a store or go online without an agenda that passes those questions from #4, above.

6. For two weeks, buy nothing but groceries and essentials.

Save-Money-on-Groceries_thumbIt’s like doing a cleanse, like seeing what it feels like to eliminate donuts from your diet, just explore and see what happens. Maybe you actually can live without your daily latte.

7. Make your luxury items ‘experiences.’

If you do spend money, spend it on experiences with those you love. You will likely find it more satisfying to spend $200 on concert tickets for your family than on another black sweater for you.

8. Make gratitude a daily practice.

Each day, list three things you dearly appreciate, whether it’s your daughter’s piano playing, your yoga studio, or the hummingbird outside your window. When you remember what you are grateful for, you need less stuff to feel happy and satisfied. Practicing gratitude opens up neurological pathways, taking us out of fight-or-flight survival mode into feelings of love and satisfaction.

If you find any of these strategies too difficult to implement, you may have a serious shopping addiction, in which case we recommend seeking an experienced therapist or joining Debtors Anonymous.

  • Posted by  Koorosh Ostowari
  • Money Anxiety Cure
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Koorosh Ostowari
About the Author

Author Koorosh Ostowari has successfully bridged the gap between spiritual and material worlds. He has operated a profitable real estate business in San Francisco for the past 25 years and is trained as a Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dharma Leader, is a certified somatic therapist, and offers spiritual and communications classes to men and women in the Northern California prison system. His new book, The Money Anxiety Cure: A Path To Financial Wellbeing, offers tools to help those struggling with financial anxiety achieve a new, personally meaningful vision of prosperity. Koorosh is dedicated to the practice of cultivating mindfulness, alleviating anxiety, and helping his clients and students maintain balance and achieve financial wellbeing.

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Koorosh Ostowari

Author Koorosh Ostowari has successfully bridged the gap between spiritual and material worlds. He has operated a profitable real estate business in San Francisco for the past 25 years and is trained as a Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dharma Leader, is a certified somatic therapist, and offers spiritual and communications classes to men and women in the Northern California prison system.
His new book, The Money Anxiety Cure: A Path To Financial Wellbeing, offers tools to help those struggling with financial anxiety achieve a new, personally meaningful vision of prosperity.

Koorosh is dedicated to the practice of cultivating mindfulness, alleviating anxiety, and helping his clients and students maintain balance and achieve financial wellbeing.
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