Skip to main content

How To Say 'No' To Impulse Purchases And Stick To Your Budget

Do you ever feel like you’re always broke, and can’t figure out where your money’s gone? Maybe it’s that thing you bought and thought you needed five months ago, but now it’s just taking up space. How now, brown cow?

Impulse buys can be a real wallet-killer, leaving us with regret and an empty bank account. But don’t worry, there are ways to fight the urge to splurge. Here are some tips to help you resist those impulse buys and reach your financial goals.

Know your budget

Figure out how much cash you’ve got coming in each month, and then plan out how much you’re going to spend on food, bills, and fun stuff like entertainment. There are loads of budget-tracker apps out there that can help you keep track of your spending, and some of them, like Fortune City, even turn budgeting into a game!

If recording expenses on your app is too much of a bore or a chore, and you can’t seem to maintain the habit, try “forcing” yourself to do it for just three days, then slowly increase the duration to five days, then a week – and before you know it, it’s an acquired habit!

Make a shopping list

We all know how dangerous it can be to walk into Daiso “for fun”. Before you know it, you’re walking out with a bunch of stuff that you really don’t need, and will never use again. When we don’t have a plan, we’re more likely to give in to our impulses and spend money on unnecessary things. It doesn’t help that product placement in stores are designed to prey on our impulsive side.

So before you head to the supermarket or a value chain like Daiso, make a list of to-buy things – either on your phone or using good ol’ pen and paper. If you feel like you might be swayed, grab a trusty BFF to accompany you on your shopping trip to keep you in check if you decide to stray off to an aisle that’s completely irrelevant to the purpose of your visit.

Avoid shopping when emotional
A study that found when we’re feeling down or stressed, we’re more likely to visit the mall or hit up online stores for some retail therapy. I mean, shopping is cheaper than a visit to the therapist, right?

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Shopee or Lazada when you’re feeling glum, put your phone away, and shop only when you’re feeling calm and collected. Your wallet will thank you for making thoughtful purchases instead of impulse buys.

Wait before buying

We totally empathise with that feeling you get when something you’ve been waiting for is finally released, and you just gotta have it. But hold up, before you hit that “buy” button, ask yourself this: do you really, really need it?

Take a deep breath and wait a day or two before making any impulsive purchases. You might find that you don’t need that fancy new toy in the alternative colour that looks suspiciously like the one you already have. Give it some time and see how you feel.

Avoid sales and discounts

That thing you didn’t want to buy is suddenly 50% off! But hold up, do you really need it (again)? Sure, it’s a steal of a deal, but don’t fall into the trap of buying stuff just because it’s on sale.

Just because something’s discounted doesn’t automatically make it worth it. And let’s be real, buying more stuff you don’t need is just going to clutter up your HDB bomb shelter.

Practice self-control

We get it – saying no to impulse purchases is easier said than done. But as you start to practice self-control and say no more often, you’ll find that it gets easier over time.

We know that sometimes it’s hard to resist the temptation to shop, especially when we’re feeling bored or stressed. But instead of mindlessly scrolling through Shopee when you’re bored, why not try finding an alternative way to cope? Take a walk, call a friend, or practice some meditation – you might be surprised at how much better you feel.

The best part about practicing self-control is that you’ll start to see real benefits in your bank account. You’ll have more money to put towards your goals, whether that’s saving for a vacay or paying off debt. So keep flexing that self-control muscle and saying “no” to those tempting impulse buys. Your future self will thank you.

For the latest updates on, be sure to follow us on TikTok, Telegram, Instagram, and Facebook. If you have a story idea for us, email us at [email protected].


Share with others!