9 Tricks to Stop Purchasing Things You Don't Need


Stores are really good at getting us to buy things we don't really need. But don't worry, here's how you can resist the temptation and save your money.

Stores are really good at making us spend money, especially on things we don't really need. When your favorite store has sales or makes it super easy to buy something (thanks, Amazon Prime!), it's normal to give in to the temptation sometimes.

However, if you find yourself spending too much or you've decided to cut back on your purchases, these tips can make it easier for you.

1. Buy groceries online

If you often find yourself buying more than you planned at the grocery store, switching to online shopping could be a solution.

When you order groceries online, either for delivery or curbside pickup, you can stick to your shopping list and see the total cost before confirming your order. Some stores even provide free pickup for online orders. If you'd rather have groceries delivered to your doorstep, services like Instacart and Shipt can help.

2. Say ‘no’ to junk mail

If tempting offers in junk mail make you spend more than you'd like, the smart move is to unsubscribe.

You can easily opt out of direct mail, including catalogs and marketing offers that come in the mail, using various methods.

3. Track the items you skip buying

Try this easy tip: Instead of impulsively buying things you want but don't need, make a dedicated list in a spreadsheet. Add the item there instead of making the purchase, and then consider investing the money you saved.

Info PK 24 President Muhammad Umair found success with this method, especially during uncertain times like the pandemic. According to him, creating a list tricks the brain into focusing on investing rather than spending."

4. Delete retail apps

If you're making a lot of purchases on your smartphone, consider uninstalling retailer apps to give your wallet—and your thumbs—a break. Having to use a computer to log in and make a purchase online might make you less likely to buy something impulsively.

5. Unsubscribe emails from stores

Store newsletters keep you in the loop about sales and discounts, but they can also lure you into spending. When you get one, resist the temptation by clicking the 'unsubscribe' button usually at the bottom in small font. If a store asks for your email in-store or during online checkout, consider skipping it altogether.

6. Avoid Storing Credit Card Details Online

Some stores let you save your payment info online for convenience, but it can lead to overspending.

Deleting your payment details is not just safer but also adds a step before buying. Without the saved info, you'll need to find your wallet for each online purchase, giving you a moment to reconsider before spending.

7. Use Cash Whenever You Can

Using cash has been shown to reduce spending, supported by research such as the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's findings that the average cash transaction in 2022 was $39 compared to $95 for noncash transactions.

Handling physical money, counting it, and handing it over can feel more substantial than clicking a "purchase" button online or swiping a credit card. This approach can help you steer clear of impulse purchases or, at the very least, spend less on your next shopping trip.

8. Avoid Responding to Urgent Marketing Messages

Have you ever felt the pressure to buy something when you see messages like "limited-time offer" or "just two items left at this price"? This urge is often linked to the economic principle of scarcity, suggesting that we're more inclined to buy something when it's less available.

When confronted with these urgent messages, take a day or so to cool off. Whether you're in a physical store or shopping online, step away. When you come back to the item later, you might find that you're less impulsive and may even decide to skip the purchase altogether.

9. Use an App for Support

If the idea of taking time to cool off sounds good, but waiting a whole day seems too long—or if you're unsure about your self-control—there's another solution.

Apps like One Sec make you wait before entering an app to make purchases, providing a lengthy and thoughtful moment to reconsider your decision.

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