How do you minimize impulse purchases?

I just try to spend more time thinking about the purchase to begin with. I take myself through my litany of questions about whether I should/shouldn’t purchase something, particularly why this moment, and so forth.

— Christine


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Dolores Avatar

Sleep Shopping used to be a large problem for me. I would wake up and look at my email for the day and find notifications of the purchases I did during the night. This was years ago when I would go on Groupon. I’ve taken the Groupon app off of my phone since then….

Debbie Avatar

This sight and other beauty blogs really help. I watch and read reviews, look at swatches, and look for dupes in my collection. Then I step back and give it a week or two. And if the new product is a permanent addition to a line I will wait even longer.

Mariella Avatar

I wait for your review, Christine – that’s often a big factor in whether I purchase or pass. Also, I check things out for myself if I can to see how it looks, how it performs “in the flesh”. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like shopping online for a first purchase (I’m fine if it’s a replacement for a product I use and like and am close to finishing). And I also think about ALL the stuff I already have that I bought in a frenzy of excitement and have barely made a dent in, not because I don’t like them but because I honestly have more makeup and skin care products that I need or can even cope with (says she who spent time yesterday looking for the backup bottle of Pixi serum which I knew I’d bought and put “somewhere”….fortunately, I found where I thought I’d put it)

Z. Avatar

I’m currently trying to just hold off on buying things. I say “if I still want it in a month” or “if I still want it by the next VIB sale” etc. Most of the time I just get sucked into the hype, and by the time a month or two rolls around, I don’t usually want it anymore.

And for eyeshadows, especially, I try to think when I would wear the colours. So many palettes are pretty to look at (like the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk, which I own), but the sahdes aren’t the kind I regularly wear to work so I rarely get use out of the palette.

Ultimately, I try to discern if it’s something I want to *have* vs something I want to *use*. I’m trying to get better about things I’ll actually use and not buy things to have just for the sake of having them after being swept up in the hype (*cough* modern renaissance).

Leigh Avatar

By waiting for reviews from you! I also go through my collection and end up rediscovering fun things to play around with in my collection. I also am trying to use up things before I buy anything new. There is no way a new eyeshadow palette can come out that I don’t have something comparable. Doesn’t mean I don’t give in every now and then. I have like four Morphe palettes coming….

A Avatar

I have a simple rule not to buy anything on sale/special offer that I wouldn’t consider buying at full price, and now I never have regret purchases.
I only get tempted to impulse buy things that are only available for a narrow window of time though, otherwise I’ve always been good at waiting and deciding if i really want something.

AB Avatar

For me there’s no single tactic, though these as a group have worked pretty well — I keep a running list of “to purchase” items that I’ve gotten pretty good at reminding myself of when on verge of an impulse buy. I also have a rule to wait 24+ hours before any purchase that’s not on that list. Sometimes my mentally checking my monthly budget status takes care of it.

Then if all that fails, I forgive myself for the purchase later. There are worse/more expensive and not useful hobbies to have.

Agona Avatar

I am trying this new process to keep my budget in check; I save all my beauty purchases until the last week of the month (to make sure I have enough “fun money”/disposable income left over in my budget to afford it). I found that if I add items to my cart throughout the month but don’t pull the trigger right away because I have to wait, it reduces the “gotta have it now” impulse.

janine Avatar

I have an ongoing list at Ulta and Sephora and don’t usually impluse buy too much.

The worst thing is those Mac collections and then they go on sale!!

Only worst than that is when there is something special you miss.

It’s so fun to try new stuff but I need a no buy soon. I’m pretty stocked up I would like to try a pat MCG AND ND eyeshadow palette someday.

Lesley Avatar

I am distinguishing between an unintended purchase and one where I have researched the product and will buy it eventually but not just then, for example if I have something similar to finish up first. For the unintended, if I am in a store, I will put the item into my basket but then I will force myself to walk around the store for awhile to see if the urge passes. I also try to wait if I am shopping online. When standing on line to pay, I try not to look at the displays there.

Rachel R. Avatar

I shop online more than in-store. I’ll put things in my carts, then wait a few days. That gives me time to look for reviews and swatches, cool off, decide if I really want the item, etc. Most of the time, I don’t end up buying the items. If I’m in Target or whatever, I’ll avoid the makeup aisles unless I want something in particular. I still make some impulse purchases, usually of the drugstore variety. It’s fun. I just don’t want to break the bank or be too wasteful.

Nancy T Avatar

Hahaha! By trying to hold off on purchasing a new pretty until I’ve read your review on it, plus watching a video review (or two) on YT by someone who I trust: Allura, EmilyNoel83, MacAh0lic, Tarababyz or Georgia Harris. There are others, too. Also, I do read Karen’s reviews on M&BB. Most of the time, this slowing down of gears helps me to correctly assess not only whether a product is a good investment, but also whether or not it’s a truly good fit for me.

Deborah S. Avatar

If am being honest, I don’t really resist impulse purchases. I think that my definition of impulse purchase is seeing something and buying it without any research, idea that it will work for me or need. I rarely do any of those. I tend to know what works for me and if I see it and love it then I will purchase it. I do buy most of my products on-line so I don’t think I have a lot of impulse purchases that are made at brick and mortar stores.

xamyx Avatar

First off, I keep running, written “Wish Lists”, so not much ends up as a true “impulse buy”. Then, I consider whether it’s something that almost always stays in-stock; if so, I’ll either wait for it to go on sale, and/or becomes eligible for “CVSBucks”, or add it to an ULTA haul for points, and waive shipping. Obviously, this applies to DS brands. There are times, though, that some products are hard to catch in-stock in the shade I want, but between sales, and the aforementioned ULTA points & CVSBucks, I can apply those, and not feel bad about an impulse buy.

When it comes to HE products, I refer to my list, and prioritize what I want, and that fits into my budget. I very rarely buy HE products on impulse. I also try to keep up on release dates, so I can decide what I want most. This can change, however, if something on my list goes on sale, or is available online only, so I may bump something up because of price or convenience.

Genevieve Avatar

As Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora are not in my local shopping centre, it’s pretty easy to not impulse spend on expensive products. And as the international shipping rates are so, so expensive, I don’t purchase products from overseas now. Another major dampener.
Even when Chemist Warehouse and Priceline have their major sales, I tend to only buy what I need or want one backup of. If I make an impulse purchase, like I did when I got the Maybelline Burgundy Bar, it was on at half price, so that helps.
However, I do weaken at times when Ozsales have a major sale on luxury beauty items and I have had to sit on my fingers.

Dolores Avatar

It is difficult for me at times to avoid impulse shopping, especially since I had started to view You Tube makeup reviews. I have found that my interest in high end makeup has increased due to watching these videos. So I have to pull myself back, not watch the videos for awhile. Ironically, ready this column daily has helped with not falling into the impulse buying rabbit hole. Christine is so objective and factual on her reviews that some of the You Tube videos I watch after seeing reviews on this site has helped me to look at makeup items more objectively rather than becoming emotionally caught up in the hype of a product. I have also found objective you tubers who I prefer to watch, rather than watching “Suri picked my makeup” type reviews. So thank you Christine for your professional and objective reviews, because your reviews can help me curb the impulse buying and assists me in looking at makeup more objectively!

Susan E Nevling Avatar

I’m not very good at impulse control re makeup and skin care. I am in the process of a very deep purge and organization. I think I may be learning.

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