Top 10 Impulse Buys to Avoid

August 14, 2018

We all make impulse purchases. They can make for funny stories, but according to, the average person spends over $110,000 on impulsive purchases in their lifetime. When it comes to saving money, cutting back on these purchases is a great way to start. We compiled a list of some the most common items you may be tempted to purchase in the near future. Stay vigilant! They are out for your wallets.

1. Candy and Gum

little joys by ginnerobot, on Flickr
little joys” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ginnerobot

The five-year-old in all of us doesn’t really wake up until we’re checking out at the grocery store. Mom and Dad never let you get that candy when you were younger, and now we are making up for all those lost opportunities. Don’t do it. A few candy bars are harmless, but it adds up.

2. Anything and Everything that is on “Sale”

impulse buys to avoid Sale
SALE” (CC BY 2.0) by renaissancechambara

We all love a good sale but, if it’s a deal you just can’t pass up, that’s probably a good indicator you should pass on it. Don’t let every big sale cause you to spend your whole paycheck unexpectedly.

3. Shoes

impulse buys to avoid shoes
Photo: Marcin KonsekWikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0, 2014 Erywań, Damskie buty na wysokim obcasie na witrynie sklepowej, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the moment, you must have them. When the moment passes, you end up with a closet full of shoes that only match a few outfits or are too nice to wear day to day. Investing in a few great pairs that match most of your wardrobe will help save you money in the longrun.

4. Extended Warranties

Apple Store Shibuya, Genius Bar by Dick Thomas Johnson, on Flickr
Apple Store Shibuya, Genius Bar” (CC BY 2.0) by Dick Thomas Johnson

You’ve been saving for months to buy that shiny, new laptop. You finally go in to buy it only to then consider spending an extra couple of hundred dollars for what amounts to a really specific, poorly written insurance policy. Be honest, that wasn’t the plan.


Toilet paper by Substance90, on Flickr
Toilet paper” (CC BY 2.0) by Substance90

These magazines are like the fast food of the journalism industry. Nobody really claims to buy them, but the numbers speak differently. You know who you are. You can get your Kardashian fix basically anywhere else, and for free.

6. Store Credit Cards

rainbow of credit by frankieleon, on Flickr
rainbow of credit” (CC BY 2.0) by frankieleon</div

Reaping the benefits of a discount at checkout may seem foolproof, but remember to weigh the benefits and risks of signing up for another credit card. Instead, get one great bank credit card that will give you rewards on all your purchases!

7. Insert Any Trendy Kitchen Gadget Here

Group of toasters by yourbestdigs, on Flickr
Group of toasters” (CC BY 2.0) by yourbestdigs

When was the last time you sat down and grilled up some paninis with the premium panini grill you bought? Or maybe made some authentic Italian gelato in that top-of-the-line ice cream maker? This isn’t Iron Chef. You know that those will never get put to use.

8. Gym Memberships

Snehalkanodia, Gym wiki, CC BY-SA 3.0

Besides that one little New Year’s Day jaunt that everybody seems to take, many memberships never make their money’s worth. So, shield your eyes from the shiny equipment and cancel that one free training session. You can work out without the premium. Maybe grab those sneakers you bought a while back but never wear? (see number 3)

9. Coffee

coffee lover by Miss Ichijouji, on Flickr
coffee lover” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Miss Ichijouji

We all know those designer coffee drinks can be delicious, but it’s time to face the facts. Let’s say you buy a $5 drink, three times a week. That seems reasonable until you realize you’ve created a $60 per month habit. Buy yourself a drip coffee maker and learn firsthand the concept of “return on investment”.

10. Selfie Sticks

Umbrella’s and selfie sticks by Paul Keller, on Flickr
Umbrella’s and selfie sticks” (CC BY 2.0) by Paul Keller

These purchases seem to be a bit more isolated. But ask yourself, did you ever actually plan to buy one of those things? Probably not. Avoiding the trend of the moment can save you a lot in the long run.

Avoiding these 10 common impulse buys can help you really grow your savings account or have some money for investing. Life is short, pass the impulse buys and invest in things that really matter!

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