Impulse buying. Are you guilty?

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We’ve all done it at least once or twice: purchased something on the fly because it was on sale or it looked good in store. Impulse buying is not the end of the world but making a habit of it is a problem.

I have to admit that I am guilty, I used to be an impulse shopper. I’ve even waited overnight for a gaming console and the iPhone 6. However, it wasn’t till a few years ago that I fully understood my problem: I was online shopping and I ended up buying 4 pairs of boots from Aldo on a shopping spree. When they all arrived I realized I didn’t like any of them!

I realized that buying without thinking can quickly lead to overspending and the feelings of guilt. It’s difficult to know if you have a problem when you’re in the middle of an impulse-buying habit. So I’ve done my best to identify what impulse buying looks like and help you shop smarter.


Shopping makes you happy

#1. Shopping just makes you happy

Often, the impulse to buy a product comes from the thrill of  buying something new and how that item can make you feel. That dress will make you feel beautiful or that new couch elevates your home. But that feeling doesn’t last, eventually you’ll get your monthly bill and you start to feel bad again.

If you love to shop, plan for your sprees so impulsive feelings don’t cause you to overspend. You can use Piggy to set a goal for an expensive item like a new TV or a shopping spree.  Learn more about setting goals with Piggy the Bank.


Emotional Shopping

#2. You shop when you’re emotional

If you’ve had a bad day at work or heard some depressing news, you may use shopping as a way to feel better. You might feel a false sense of accomplishment thinking “I deserve this” and before you know it your credit card is maxed out.

Don’t shop when you’re emotional. Stay far away from the store and the web. You’ll be more likely to overspend to make yourself feel better, and use it as an excuse to justify your purchase.


#3. You Feel the Urge

Whenever you’re at the store or shopping online, you see something you like and immediately feel the need to have it, it becomes an itch. Even if you don’t act on it, that impulse feeling can make you more likely to indulge.

If you know you’ll be window shopping don’t bring your credit card with you. Credit cards make it easy to spend money you don’t have.



You make excuses to shop


#4. You Make Excuses to shop

It’s “Saturday” you say, “I need to get groceries, but on the way we should stop by the mall,  just to look…” If you’re making excuses to go to the mall or find yourself browsing all night, you may be making excuses to shop.

Find other outlets for when you’re feeling like shopping, like hanging out with friends or watching your favourite movie. I know it’s difficult to imagine, but there’s more to life than shopping.


Buyers remorse

#5. You Feel Regret

It’s the feeling of regret you can get after making a large purchase you’re not quite sure you wanted or could afford. For me it was the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I bought those pairs of boots I couldn’t afford, and it felt like crap.

My advice: slow it down. Follow the 30 day rule, if you really want something but can’t afford it, wait at least 30 days before you buy it to make sure you really want it. Keep saving and if you still want it, at least you’ve saved up so you won’t have any regrets.



You overspend

#6. You Overspend

If you look at your budget every month and freak out at the size of your credit card bill, this is a good sign you’re an impulse shopper. If you have no idea how you spent that much and your bill includes lots of largely unnecessary purchases, you may be shopping too much.

My best advice: make a plan. If you have the money, put some of your income toward fun spending. You can setup an automated goal for a shopping spree or a specific item you want with Piggy that way, you can give in to some impulses without overspending.

I hope this has helped you identify if this is you. I know that I was in personal debt for the past decade and now I’m finally debt free. It’s taken a lot of work and planning but it’s worth it. When I shop now I use the shopping platform Piggy the Bank to plan for events like the Holidays or new items like my new Apple watch and I’ll be honest, it feels good to shop – but it feels better shopping when you know you have the money.

Give Piggy the Bank a try, it’s FREE and fun to use.

Sign up at:


Sign up for Piggy and you could win $800


Andrew Garcia
Andrew Garcia
Andy Garcia, Creative Lead & Co-Founder — Andy is an award winning UX Designer, Art Director and Entrepreneur living in Toronto. He has a passion for storytelling and how it can interact with brands, fans and customers alike. Over the years Andy has worked with a roaster of big names including: The Globe and Mail, Samsung Canada and the Bank of Montreal. With over decade of experince in design, UX and creative managment, his work ranges from innovative technical projects to social concepts that break barriers and bring to life ideas that can change the way users use technology in everday life. A few of his recent notble projects include: the CSA winning Big Brother Canada digital franchise, the FITC winning Sochi Olympics Notes from Home website and the Peadbody award winning VR documentary: Ebola Outbreak a Virtual Journey.
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