Staying away from impulse buying

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JEREMY JESSLEY TAN, RFP

At least once in our lifetime we succumb to this thing called impulse buying. BusinessDictionary.com defines it this way:

Impulse buying (n.)—spur of the moment, unplanned decision to buy, made just before the purchase.
There’s actually nothing wrong with impulse buying. It becomes a bad thing when we fall prey to extravagant buying that before we know it, we’re drowning in debt, no cash in our wallet and are facing a lifetime of financial woes. That’s when impulse buying becomes ‘evil’ buying, as far as I’m concerned. Since that is not our goal, here are some tips I’ve used to control/prevent myself from ‘evil’ buying, especially the things I don’t need:

1. Budget your cash. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of budgeting and keeping track of your budget against your actual expenses. Budgeting shouldn’t be done in your head as we definitely won’t be able to recall every detail of our spending (trust me, I’ve tried it before). It’s best to have something that is tangible and easily accessible (you can use Google Drive’s spreadsheet so you can access your file from anywhere) for you to edit/log onto on a daily basis. Budgeting allows me to plan the things I want to buy without worrying where I would get the money to pay it from.

2. Stay away from the malls, especially during sales. If you don’t plan on buying anything, just stay home and spend quality time with the family. Besides, it’s really not convenient going to the mall during a sale because these places get too crowded during those times. Don’t get me wrong – sale items are good, but if we know we don’t really need that thing we want to buy only because 1) it is on sale and 2) we can use our credit card to buy it, anyway, then we might end up feeling guilty and regretting our decision later.


3. Sleep through it (Itulog mo muna). Whenever I see something I want to buy, I always tell myself: “Itutulog ko muna.” Then, I go home, sleep through it a few days and see if I still have the urge to buy it. In between those days, I’d also sift through my budget and figure out where the money for that thing should come from. If I really can’t afford it, I’d put it in my “to buy” list so I can eventually plan the right time to buy it.

4. Reward yourself regularly. Sometimes the reason we give in to impulse buying is to reward ourselves for too much self-control at other times.

5. Plan ahead and save. It would be good to have an “impulse buying fund” where you set aside an amount of money every month and use this only when you are buying something you want (and don’t really need) and something you have not included in your monthly budget. This is a sort of an ‘emergency fund,’ although in this case, there’s really no emergency.

6. Set goals and focus. It helps when I have goals and think about them as I try to decide whether I’d buy something I want. If buying that thing would be a step back from achieving my goal, then, it’s a sign that I shouldn’t buy it.

Jeremy Jessley Tan, RFP® is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 60th RFP program this March 2017. To inquire, e-mail info@rfp.ph or text <name><e-mail><RFP> at 0917-9689774.

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