… so you can actually start saving for your dream vacation!
As I mentioned in a previous post, saving money for travel doesn’t need to be hard. Don’t get me wrong, though. Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.
When you’re constantly tempted by the call of impulse purchasing, your well-meaning plan can go off the rails in a heartbeat. Goodbye, vacation to Japan. Try again next month…
Since I know first-hand how difficult it can be to avoid impulse buys, I’m sharing 9 tips to help you make future purchases more mindfully. With these things in mind, I’ve found it easier to save money for travel and avoid unnecessary purchases.
1. Add to wishlist – not to cart
This has been a game-changer for me. When I’m doing some online “window shopping,” adding the item to a Pinterest wishlist gives me a sense of satisfaction. This simple act re-assures me the item is saved, and I can return at any time to complete my purchase… doesn’t need to be now. No rush. Then, more often than not, I forget about the item. Voila – unnecessary purchase avoided!
FYI, this is my real wishlist.
2. Use an app like Shoptagr to delay purchases until an item’s on sale
For items I know I’ll want to buy, yet aren’t an immediate need, I’ll use an app like Shoptagr to save them. I like Shoptagr because it allows you to save the item in the color & size you’d like to buy, and it will then notify you if there’s a price drop. Saving money is never a bad thing!
3. Make good use of a budgeting app – so you know what you can afford!
This is my favorite tip, because it allows me to make impulse purchases every now and then. When you take the time to put together a budget, you have a good picture of how much money you’ll have after your fixed expenses. Set aside a small budget for incidentals, and there you have it: you can have your impulse purchase, and eat it too. (I say “eat it” because 90% of my impulse purchases are food-related.)
4. Ask yourself if you really need it…
Do you need this item? Do you really? How many times per week will you be using it? What kind of value will it add to your life? Is it something that will be a staple in your routine for a large chunk of time?
If so, the purchase may be worth it.
On the other hand, if it’s a cute item you’ll use once or twice, you’re looking at a recipe for unused clutter. By asking yourself this question, you can take yourself out of the impulse state of mind, and be considerate about whether this new item will add value to your life.
5. Figure out the cost per use
In a similar vein, it helps me to quickly tally up a “cost per use” estimate.
Here’s an example: you’ve found a pair of classic blue jeans that fit you immaculately. You know you’ll wear them at least twice a week. They won’t go out of fashion any time soon, so you’ll wear them until they fall apart. You check the price tag. 150 dollars. WHAT?!
Let’s break down the math, though. Worn on a twice weekly basis for 2 years, your pricey pair of jeans now costs 75 cents per wear. How about the $50 dress you purchased and wore only a few times before donating to Goodwill? Nearly $17 per wear. Ouch. That hurts.
Impulse purchases often have a high “cost per use” because we’re, well, acting on impulse… Anything you can ask yourself to bring you back to a rational state of mind will help!
6. Create a shopping list in advance
This applies to anywhere I’m going, whether it be the grocery store or the mall. Making a list in advance is a sacred “to-do” to follow, and any time I don’t take my own advice, I end up with oodles of things I didn’t plan to purchase.
- Tips for Creating a Grocery Budget (And Sticking to It) via Kitchn
- The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning via Wellness Mama
7. Create a capsule wardrobe
Although I haven’t created one for myself (yet), I love the idea of capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe is when you limit your amount of clothing items for the entire season (less is more, but the recommended amount is 37 items). These 37 pieces of clothing should all be wardrobe staples that you not only love wearing – but won’t go out of style by next season.
In theory, this cuts down on clothing purchases, because you have a minimal closet comprised of items that mix & match flawlessly. Plus, planning out your clothing purchases in advance means there are less “holes” in your closet that tend to result from impulse buying the latest trend. No more saying, “I have nothing to wear”!
- How to Reduce Your Closet to 37 Pieces via Who What Wear
- An Example of a Beautiful Fall Capsule Wardrobe via My Green Closet
8. (When traveling) bring a small bag
I know – souvenir shops are oh-so-tempting. It’s alright to leave a little space in your carry-on for small mementos that will remind you of your travels, but I wouldn’t recommend going on vacation with an empty suitcase and the intent to fill it with new purchases before you return.
Unless you’re headed to Japan. In that case, could you bring back an entire suitcase full of Japanese snacks for me? Thanks in advance.
9. Consider waiting to use your new item
Even the most budget-conscious people end up making impulse purchases now and then. If you’ve bought something on the spur of the moment, consider not wearing it or using it right away. Instead, put it aside, and then set a reminder on your phone for a week later. In the week’s time, did you think about it? Did the thought of using it or wearing it frequently come to mind? If so, that’s great – it’s obviously a useful purchase, and you should keep it!
On the flip side, if you totally forgot about the item, it’s a good sign you might not really need it. Some exceptions apply, obviously – like seasonal items, perhaps. Even then, I try my best to avoid buying things I won’t need until 6+ months from now.
And if during this experiment, you decide you don’t need it? It’s still unused and ready to return for refund. Boom! Money saved.
Pin it for later!
Have something to add?
What’s your best tip for reducing the temptation of impulse purchases? Have you tried any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below!