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How to Know When to Make an Impulse Purchase


How to Know When to Make an Impulse Purchase

Get ready for it: Sometimes, it’s good to make an impulse purchase!

I know, those are crazy words for me to type but it’s true. The key word in there is sometimes.

We’ve found that there are times when it makes sense for us to spring for great deal that we weren’t planning on.

There is a whole thought process I go through before pulling out my credit card though, so let’s get into how to know if it’s a good idea. These questions come in handy whether you’re faced with the possibility of a new TV on black Friday or just a good shoe sale.

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How to Know When to Make an Impulse Purchase

Do I have the money today?

Do not go into debt for an impulse buy. Do not completely wreck your budget for an impulse buy.

Obviously making an impulse purchase means that it’s something we weren’t quite planning for or budgeting for. We won’t make the purchase unless we have the money to pay for it and we know it won’t put us in a stressful situation with our budget.

Right now we have some extra money coming in each month that we try to use to pay down our debt. If we deem an impulse buy necessary, we might use some of the cash on that instead.

“Do I have the money today?” is always question number one. If the answer is no, do not make the purchase. Simple.

Has it been on my list?

So if you’re at Sam’s Club and they have an insane deal on a new TV and you have the money to buy it, ask yourself if getting a new TV is really something that has been on your list of things to buy. The same goes for new clothing. It might be a killer deal, but if it’s your third fancy dress and you hardly need a fancy dress once a year, it probably hasn’t been on your list to get a new one.

A few months ago, we made an impulse buy on a new mattress and bed platform (this and this… LOVE them). There was an amazing deal happening on Amazon and it had been on our list to get a new mattress since ours was causing us problems.

You can also think about if it’s a “nice to have” or a “need to have”. For me, since I have back problems and wasn’t sleeping well, the mattress was much higher on the priorities list than a bigger TV.

Thinking about if the great deal is a need or a want and if it’s something you’ve been meaning to buy eventually should help you narrow down if you should make the purchase.

It won’t feel great to spring for an impulse buy only to get home and realize that you didn’t really need that item at all and would have been better off saving your money for something else.

Will I end up buying it later at a higher price?

This question is really what made me click to checkout with our new mattress. We knew that we needed to buy ourselves a new mattress by Christmas of this year because our old mattress would be needed as a guest bed. If I didn’t buy it now, I would probably end up paying more for it in the near future.

This happens a lot for me with shoe shopping. I know that I’ll need a new pair of sandals by next summer, so if I come across a great deal I’ll probably go for it. It’s often easier to find a lower price in the off season and I’ll end paying more if I wait.

By asking ourselves these questions, we’ve stopped ourselves from making a bad impulse purchase and occasionally decided that it was a good idea.

  1. Do I have the money today?
  2. Has it been on my list? / Is it a need or a want?
  3. Will I end up buying it later at a higher price?

We never allow ourselves to go into debt for an impulse buy, even if it’s a great deal. If we have the cash, we figure out if it’s something we’ve had on our list, if it’s really a need, and if we’re going to end up paying a higher price for it in the near future. In the case of our new mattress, it just made sense to go for it.

I hope these questions help you know when to make an impulse purchase next time you’re debating it.

⇒ Do you have a hard time with making impulse buys? What helps you decide to buy or not?

How to Know When to Make an Impulse Purchase

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