Impulse Buying: What it is & How to Stop – EP 351

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Order complete but does it make you FEEL complete? Unplanned purchases often get the best of us, but we’re not here to vilify those today. In this episode, we are digging deeper into the science behind your impulse spendings and ways to avoid it to have more intentional shopping. 

Values based spending isn’t finding your bigger reason for your financial goals. We have to figure out the motivators that will win out in a battle of your logical and emotional brain.


  • The consequences of my actions. Well, well, well, if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions catching up to me. This weekend I’ll be running 13.1 miles because I signed up for a half marathon a week after giving birth. Is this what I’m lamenting? Nope. I trained. Ya know who didn’t? Travis who I also signed up for the half marathon and who will surely never let me live down the consequences of that action. Will he run with me? Probably not. Will he injure himself? Maybe. Will he complain the whole way there and back? Most definitely. But not all consequences of your actions are as miserable as mine will be. When you get the Friendletter for free you’ll get actions to help you save money, spend better, and live in alignment with your values in your inbox 3x a week. Those are some consequences I’d like to see. to get the Friendletter.

What Is Impulse Buying and How Do You Encourage It

This article defines impulse buying through the lens of marketers–how they encourage buyers to spend out of spur. 

What Jen + Jill have to say:

Compulsive buying, as the name suggests, happens at the spur of the moment, which can be hard for any individual to control. Jill says that we might often find ourselves calling it “self-gifting”, “retail therapy,” or just justifying a purchase we may not necessarily need or intend to make immediately.

In the research cited in the article by Wilhelm Hofmann, it says that our brain activates a series of urges, desires, and impulses by external stimuli because of our past experiences. We tend to buy products or services that offer seemingly greater savings or give us a sudden rush of emotions. But like Jill, who is often found enticed by the products in Target, external factors are also responsible for these impulses, such as the store environment, sounds, smells, and such.

How to Stop Impulse Buying and Purchase More Intentionally

This article talks about how to stop unplanned spendings and purchase with more intentionality. 

What Jen + Jill have to say:

Being in the store or even online can heighten your urge to spend, so avoiding them would greatly help in preventing it. But Jill is not an advocate of the idea of you never going to the store ever again, as that’s an extreme way of approaching it; rather, we want you to interrupt the cycle by simply not going when deemed unnecessary. Replace it! Go for a walk elsewhere, but not at a store. Set a budget and be aware of your present emotional state before you shop, as we are going to do far better if we’ve already decided how much we can spend and what we’re feeling before shopping. Get rid of your store or reward cards and take off apps on your phone—make it difficult to spend money. The ultimate best tip Jen can give is to create a pause by asking yourself. 

Have you ever turned an impulse purchase into a valuable possession?

Jill’s spiral staircase became one of their houses’ greatest features because of her valuable impulse spending, but she greatly regrets buying a handful of lipsticks that end up not looking good on her. On the other hand, Jen regrets the house they are currently living in and renovating, but she will never regret having a second child or living in their previous house.

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Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. We love love love reading your kind reviews and we especially loved this one:

Lovely and reasonable

Thanks for not making me do six side hustles because I'm tired. This is such a fun and accessible show for new and experienced frugal folks alike!

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