When Debbie, one of my coaching clients, went in to work on Thursday morning, the last thing she expected was to be called in to her boss’s office and reprimanded for something she didn’t do. Instantly, she was consumed by feelings of agitation and worry over possibly being denied her upcoming promotion.
At 5:00 sharp, Debbie was out the door and headed for the mall. Without a second thought, she bought an expensive blouse. When she tried it on, it made her feel beautiful. She deserved to be comforted; after all, she was innocent. The following morning, however, she couldn’t help but regret the purchase. Deep down, Debbie felt guilty.
It’s never what you do that’s important, it’s what you’re thinking when you do it that matters. If Debbie had thought about buying the blouse and saved up for it, then most likely she would have worn it to work the next day. Instead, she felt worse because the purchase was used to alleviate her stress.
Below are Five Suggestions About Impulse Buying You May Not Know – but Might Change Your Life…
1. The definition of “impulse” is unplanned, sudden, hasty, and thoughtless. Most of us believe that we’re in total control when we spontaneously buy something. In truth, we’re acting without really thinking about it or the long term effects it will cause. Much like Debbie’s case, the mere ability to purchase something, especially on a credit card, does not mean we are back in power again.
2. Usually, an impulse buy is driven by our desire to relieve a nagging emotion – most commonly stress, boredom, anger, or guilt. Things we buy may put us in a better mood for a while, but it does not address the underlying problem. The pleasure Debbie felt from her expensive purchase only masked the pain and frustration she felt from her work, but didn’t erase or cure it.
3. The positive effects of an impulse buy fade all too quickly. I have a client who timed it: 18 minutes later the guilt started to creep in. As soon as you say to yourself, “I shouldn’t have done that,” you know you just made an impulse buy. By the time Debbie got home with her new purchase, the positive feelings had been replaced by negative ones.
4. Impulse buying stops us from realizing our dreams because we “nickel and dime” ourselves out of them. Instead of saving for what Debbie really wanted, she chose to relieve her stress with binges at the mall.
5. There are simple ways to hold yourself back from an impulse buy. Know that you have a choice. Will you opt for your lifelong dream, or for a quick fix to a temporary problem?
Wait! Before you buy, take three deep breaths; this simple technique will help to release the immediate emotion. If you do make it to your shopping destination before you calm down, take time to compare items. You may find that you simply don’t want to invest the time it takes to do so. Tell yourself that you can go back the next day; if you still want it when you wake up in the morning – go ahead and buy it. Had Debbie waited until the next morning to decide on her purchase, she would have found she didn’t want the blouse after all.
Learn to take it back. If the thrill is gone and you feel worse than you did before, take it back. Because Debbie realized she felt remorseful the next day, she returned the blouse (and the guilt along with it).
Rather than heading to the nearest mall the next time Debbie is inclined to impulse buy, she will relieve her emotions by taking some deep breaths, taking time to listen and trust her intuition, and put her emotions to rest.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your wallet is resist the urge to impulse buy. In doing so, you build your self-esteem in a way that no blouse could ever do!
If you would like impulse buying advice, contact Vickie Champion for a discovery coaching and consulting session.
By Vickie Champion