Is your new year’s resolution to stop wasting money? Get on top of your spending? Start saving the big bucks? If it is, then you’re in the right place! Let us help you to have a new perspective on your finances going into 2022…
One of the most common downfalls when it comes to over-spending is impulse buying. Impulse buying is when you feel that a particular item is suddenly completely necessary, so you buy it without a second thought. Impulse buys might be something small like a pack of sweets, but could also be deciding suddenly that you need a new TV. Either way, they’re usually a rushed decision and probably not something you need as much as you initially thought you did.
Sometimes these impulse decisions are influenced by marketing techniques and flashy promotions. Most of the time we know when we are getting a good deal, or we know that if that certain product wasn’t on sale then we wouldn’t have bought it. This time of year these marketing techniques are used more, helping to promote Christmas deals and Boxing Day sales.
What’s wrong with impulse buying?
Impulse buying is constantly being made easier to do. Buying something online can be done in as little as one click, and shopping in-store has been made easier with contactless payments. The ease of these methods may be useful in some situations but can be mistreated and encourage bad financial habits.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
Many online shops offer Buy Now Pay Later schemes as a form of payment. While these can help those waiting for payday, for some this is an easy way to accumulate debt. BNPL options put you in the mindset that you’re spending less on a product at the time of purchase, giving you more incentive to impulse buy.
If you choose to use this payment method, make sure to plan when the instalments will be taken from your account to avoid missing payments and getting into debt.
Another reason why you should avoid impulse buying is buyers remorse. That guilty feeling after you’ve spent money on a takeaway that wasn’t that nice. Or when you’ve bought some new shoes that you’ve never worn but it’s too late to return them.
It’s inevitable that this might happen every now and then. But if you find this happening regularly then it might be time to re-think your buying habits. Buyers remorse can lead to stress, anxiety and even depression in more serious cases.
What to look out for
There are multiple marketing techniques used when targeting shoppers. The two which encourage impulse buying are FOMO (fear of missing out) and attention-grabbing or pressure selling tactics.
Some examples of these which you may have seen before are:
- Promotions which highlight that this particular product or discount is only available for a small period of time so you must buy it now
- When you’re shopping online and the product page tells you that “30 people bought this in the last hour” or that the product is “selling out quickly”
- Products that you see advertised everywhere. Everyone has them, they’re all over TV and the internet, making you think you need it too.
How to avoid impulse buying
If you added up everything you impulse-bought in the last year you might have saved enough to pay for a holiday or even a new car. At the time of purchase, it seems like not much, but £3 here and £5 there adds up without us even realising.
Keep these tips in mind, and see how much money you can save in 2022:
- Use the 24 hour rule: If you see something you want to buy, wait 24 hours and see if you still want it or if it was an impulse thought.
- Become the seller: Put yourself in the shoes of the person selling and promoting the product. Are the promotional tactics valid or just a way to pressure you into buying?
- Delete shopping apps: If you have apps for online stores e.g. Amazon or Asos, you might find yourself aimlessly scrolling and easily making a purchase. Delete the apps altogtherr to make sure this can’t happen.
- Re-plan your budget: If you know you are prone to impulse buying and retail therapy, add this into your budget. Give yourself a monthly limit on treating yourself, or cut down on something else to facilitate for shopping. Never get yourself into debt for a shopping trip.
To sum up
We aren’t saying that you can’t treat yourself, everyone deserves a little something to cheer themselves up every now and then. But make sure that when you’re shopping, that your purchases are within your means.
At Forces Finance we have several features to help you with your budgeting and saving. A great way to start your year is to have a set-out budget, you can plan this using our budget planner.
Another way to get into a good financial habit in the new year is to start saving regularly. With us, you can set up a monthly payment into your savings account directly from your MOD salary. No need to transfer money, we’ll do it for you.
If you’re looking to pay off your overdraft, are stuck in the ‘minimum payment’ trap, or just want to combine everything into one simple monthly payment, we may be able to help. Combine it into one predictable monthly repayment, with a clear end date, and a lower rate of interest.Find out more