What has worked best at curbing impulse buying?

I’m speaking from what’s worked for me in other areas that it can be easy to overindulge in, like clothes or shoes, that isn’t a “need” so much as a “want.” I like to keep what I have organized, as this helps me see what I have already and make me less likely to add to it. I really focus on what use I’m getting out of what I already have, e.g. if I spend the bulk of my time in lounge wear, why do I have 20 dresses? When was the last time I wore a dress? Therefore… stop buying dresses! Also, I try to embrace this motto: if I only want it NOW because I’m worried it’ll be sold out, then that’s not a reason to purchase – whatever is releasing is a want, not a need, and can be replaced even if it does sell out. My life will not be worse for not buying it!

— Christine


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Seraphine Avatar

When it comes to makeup impulse buying, my answer is very simple: Temptalia!

I’ve looked up this site on my phone to check ratings and dupes while standing at a makeup counter many times. Without Temptalia, I would probably have wasted a ton of money on mediocre products or products I can dupe. So thanks, Christine! I truly appreciate all your hard work on this wonderful website.

These days, I don’t have much of a problem with impulse buying when it comes to other things like clothes, shoes, books, etc. Except for junk food. I have a hard time controlling myself in a grocery store. I’m still working on that.

A Avatar

I tend to only buy things from a select pre-existing list of things I want – for which I tend to research both online reviews and swatch in person if possible. And even at huge discounts, I only buy things I would consider buying at full price. I haven’t really had any regret purchases since I started following this system.

Rachel R. Avatar

*Finances — When money’s short, impulse buys are cut out. Avoiding reading brand and store emails to help curb temptaion.

*Knowing that I have a huge stash and being organized and familiar with what I have. Knowing that I probably have dupes for the impulse item.

*Reading/watching reviews on Temptalia, Phyrra Nyx, and other trusted blogs/vlogs. I know more whether an impulse item is a “good deal,” something I’ll love, or trash.

*Phyrra Nyx’s Facebook group: If you’re tempted and post about whether an item with getting, or specifically ask to be talked out of something, the wonderful people there help you out.

*Temptalia Vanity feature — It’s easy to see what I have and avoid impulse buying online.

*When buying online, letting items sit in my cart for a few days. Most of the time, I don’t buy end up buying anything.

Rhea Avatar

This is completely ridiculous but I have taken to flipping a coin on things that feel excessive. If it tells me not to get it then it is fate. If it tells me to get it then … Maybe I will maybe I won’t. But it can stop some of the buying frenzy.

Mags Avatar

Personally, I’ve found setting a savings goal with a grand reward has curbed my impulse spending. Currently, I’m saving up for a vacation so I can spend without worry there, so every time I’m tempted by something I ask myself if I’d rather have that item or a better time at my destination.

Same rule applies for large purchases I plan to make. I’d rather set that money aside for that big ticket item I’ll use forever than the small items I’ll most likely forget in a month.

AB Avatar

A couple of rules have helped me: if a product is not on my wish list, I make myself wait and think about it — a “cooling down” period. And, I have a monthly budget with a bucket for monthly discretionary fun spending, and I don’t exceed it; lessons learned from a painful period of getting out of debt.

If I get through those hurdles and still the only thing that will soothe an itch of feeling deprived or irritated about whatever is happening in life is a pretty lipstick, I let myself just do it.

Hope Avatar

I have enough makeup ten times over. But still I find myself drawn into items and impulse buying, especially when exiting through the Gauntlet of Financial Doom that is the check-out aisle at Sephora. There’s a reason supermarkets put the candy at the check-out aisle, and a reason that Sephora puts the $25-and-under minis in the check-out aisle.

Instead of just trying to avoid buying anything, I found a replacement place for my $25 to go every month – it’s an organization for girls called the Young Women’s Freedom Center. It’s $25 a month to be an ally member. Where I now have a place aligned with my interests to spend that $25 as a charitable expense, I remind myself that the $25 I could be spending on a mini highlighter I don’t need is now going to my longer-term interests. And I don’t feel the same sense of “needing” to spend that $25.

Nancy T Avatar

☝️What you said above is how I used to think, and I need to have a swift and mentally firm return to that mindset, Christine!
Lately, it’s been a battle with myself to scale back with any and all impulse spending. Way back. And it is hard! My buying habits over the past several years have gotten out of control. Not that I went so over budget so much as I have just been going at it more willy-nilly. Now that I’ve put myself on a tight leash with 2019 being a strict “Low-buy” year, I hope to rekindle a greater appreciation and enjoyment for what I already have, as well as to cultivate much better self regulation and self-control. I’ve had to get real with myself on a very raw level. My ex did have a valid point about my tendency to “want what you want right now” and having a bit of a “spoiled” attitude when it comes to spending. Sometimes, we receive the correct message delivered in the wrong way. And so of course, we bristle at it. But that does not mean that they were *wrong*. Just that it could have been worded kinder and less abrasively.

kjh Avatar

I so relate to what you said about dresses. Even if it’s ‘so me,’ I have almost zero occasions. I have something for every niche. Shoes: the same. In the past five or so, have bought sweats, tees, Haflingers, and flip flops. (A few months ago, I donated 38 pairs, and still have far too many.) Nothing dressy; no need. As to cosmetics, whole bunch of NY changes, like tightening the dupe rule, no new brands, no net gain should curb spending. Use more, buy less! T is extraordinarily important to my efforts.

Debbie Avatar

Where cosmetics are concerned I have become much more selective and willing to wait out the hype to see if the product that I am interested is worth spending my money on.
I have learned to shop my stash with the help of Temptalia.
I am no longer an impulse shopper. I have learned to budget and just shop my closet.
And instead of buying books I use the library system, and find that I am reading more thanks to it.
Also, we are lucky that we have three very well curated Goodwill Shops near us and I always find something in them.

Genevieve Avatar

Your blog Christine!
First of all – the ratings – once you have reviewed a beauty product, then we all know whether it’s worth purchasing or not.
Secondly – the dupe list – that helps us to work out whether we have shades/colours in our own stash that are essentially the same shade to avoid doubling up on purchases.
Next is availability – can I easily access the desired product to see/test the swatches for myself? International shipping rates can be prohibitive. Another factor is that here in Aus, we often just get half the stock. For example – Sephora’s lipstories lipstick range – we don’t have the whole range – only about half. Which means that, most likely, your favourite lipstick in the range won’t be there….
Lastly, cost – beauty products are marked up to high heaven – with taxes, dollar exchange rates etc. So that can bre prohibitive.
And whilst brands are churning out lots and lots of red/orange/pink themed palettes – it has been easy for me to reist as they are not my shades.
Last year I only received/bought 3 eye palettes: Chanel’s Tisse D’Automne and Sultry (as gifts) and Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar (which I purchased on sale). So I feel pretty good about that.
Lipsticks were another story….

CK Avatar

I make the concerted effort to use everything. I try different color schemes, try not to skip over products for too long of a time even though I have my favorites. I’ve just gone through a massive replacement spree so I’m good for a long time – the only things I will be buying with any frequency are foundation, powder and mascara. As tempted as I may be to get anything, I will be careful to not get stuff too close to things I already own. Temptalia’s dupe-o-meter will help with that! There are a couple of shades I’d like but I am in no rush to buy anything now, so I am back to restraining myself at all the new shinies. I will wait for a knockout sale before I add back any more eyeshadow.

Deborah S. Avatar

In the past I would say that nothing has helped me curb temptation but that would be untrue. I would definitely buy more than I need but I would pass on a lot of things also. I have found that reading reviews and not buying until I have had an opportunity to review has helped. I use to do a lot of spontaneous, immediate gratification buying. Sometimes the products would work out and sometimes not. I tend to like HE makeup so that could be problematic. Like others have mentioned I have found that putting things in my cart and letting them sit there for awhile has helped tremendously. I have had 15 eye shadows sitting in my YesStyle cart for about 4 weeks now. I go and look at them and then promise myself I will really study the shades and determine which ones to actually pick up and then I just haven’t been back.
I am pretty determined to stick with my no-buy or very low-buy this year as I am going to try and go to Europe for Christmas next year so that is pretty good incentive. The biggest problems I foresee this year will be resisting the temptation to add makeup to my cart when I am purchasing skin care replacements.

Susan Nevling Avatar

I am very bad at impulse control especially related to make up and skin care. I’ve greatly improved with clothing, shoes, and handbags.
I don’t know what the difference is. I plan on going through my stash to see if that helps. 20% off always gets me.

Brenda C Avatar

If it isn’t something that I immediately have to have. I will wait and if I absolutely can’t get it out of my mind I will return and purchase it. Most times I forget about it and save my money.

Sarah Avatar

Being real with myself. A lot of my impulse purchases in the past have been products that I thought I would wear for certain occasions, or colors that I like in swatches but not on my face.

Caroline Avatar

I recently moved house, and was horrified – HORRIFIED – by how many clothes I’d accumulated over the years. I created a rule for myself: ‘ If there’s no room in the new wardrobe, it’s not going in’. And it worked. I had a huge cull, donating loads of stuff to charity, and felt much better not to be surrounded by mountains of things I’d never wear or use but kept hold of ‘just in case’. The same went for makeup: If I hadn’t worn it for a year, out it went. Now I can look around my tidy house and vow never to let my shopping habits get out of control again.

Gabriela Avatar

Well, recently I was calculating the worth of my makeup collection when I got to the number I was kind of scared but satisfied at the same time knowing I didn’t need anymore, that the money that hasn’t been invested yet can go to a better cause. Then, every time I get interested in something I check Temptalia actually haha and I’ve found dupes that I already have in my collection so I conclude I don’t need to buy the product since it is so similar.

What helped me before was making a list of products I really really wanted, we don’t have a sephora in my country so I had to wait to buy it, that time helped me to decide if it was just the hype or I really wanted it.

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