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6 Ways to Overcome Holiday Impulse Purchases

Updated: October 24, 2023

You walk into a store, wallet in hand, determined to complete your holiday shopping cost-effectively and efficiently. Fast forward, your cart is packed with items from “Last Minute Gifts”, “$5 Stocking Stuffers”, and “Gadget Gifts For Anyone” displays. How did all these items end up in your cart? Who knows, but it’s the holidays and you’ll find a good home for them. Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t the only ones displaying temptation. Online websites are overloaded with “flash sales”, “half priced gift sets”, and “$10 off $50 purchase”. Needless to say, buying temptation is everywhere. The average U.S. consumer spends $5,400 on impulse buys according to a new survey by Slickdeals.net . How do you avoid overspending while giving generously? Keep reading to find out how to overcome holiday impulse purchases.

1. Budget First

Take the time to calculate how much you can spend on the holidays before you shop. Once you know how much you can spend, divide that number by how many people you need to buy for. There’s your lucky number for gift-giving. If you know yourself well and an impulse buy is unavoidable, then set aside a small portion of your budget. This way there’s extra cushion in your budget.

piggy bank with Santa hat
Christmas gift list

2. Make a List

Make a list and check it twice. Write down the Christmas gifts you want to buy. Map out your store route so you can efficiently get what you need without being tempted by the holiday glitz and glitter.

3. Shop Smart

After you budget and make your list, look for the best deals. Research coupons, compare prices, and check to see if there’s a better price online.

making an online purchase
woman walking a dog outside

4. Know When to Step Away From the Computer

It’s very easy to fill up your online shopping cart. Before you know it, you’re down a rabbit hole and there’s 20 items in your cart you didn’t plan on buying. This is when it’s time to step away from the computer and call someone, watch TV, or go for a walk. Once you’ve had a little time away, go back and check your cart. Consider asking yourself these questions before purchasing an item:

  • Why am I here?
  • How do I feel?
  • Do I need this?
  • What if I wait?
  • How will I pay for it?
  • Where will I put it?

5. Bring a Friend

Bringing a friend along can distract you from looking through every single aisle and display. Friends help decide which color headphones to buy or question you when it comes to buying a very expensive item. Tell them your holiday spending goals so they can keep you accountable and on track.

woman and man holiday shopping together
parents and a child putting money into a piggy bank

6. Create a Financial Goal

Creating financial goals will motivate you to save! It’s all about reaching your goals and the more you save, the faster they come. Whether it’s a house, a new car, moving to a new state, or saving (x) amount for retirement, document it for later. Create a physical copy of your list and keep it somewhere to help remind you when you feel like making an impulse purchase. If you need assistance in creating a plan or gaining more information, check out Launch’s financial coaching resources.

We hope these help you to curb holiday impulse purchases. Remember, take your time and create a game plan. Don’t go shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar business without a plan first. This helps you save money, time, and stress, and overcome holiday impulse purchases.

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