Avoiding Impulse Buys

Line of doomAlmost every grocery store in America has a magazine rack and a bunch of candy in front of the checkout stand. Have you ever been in one of those electronics stores where they funnel you past a long line of stuff before you can even look for an open checkout? I have heard this called the “impulse line of doom.”

JD at Get Rich Slowly had a good post some time ago titled, Control Impulse Spending with the 30-Day Rule. To summarize, he wrote that whenever you feel the urge to make an impulse buy, write it down, go home, and think about it for 30 days. If you still want it after 30 days, then consider purchasing, but avoid using credit for it.

JD’s method is a simple, effective way to avoid impulse buys. For those of us who are still a bit weak when we are standing in the impulse line of doom, however, I have a few additional tips.

  1. As you are entering the line of doom, walk quickly down the open aisle. Do not pause to look at anything.
  2. When you get stalled behind people in front of you, keep your cool and focus forward. Perhaps you can see what is in the person’s basket in front of you. Check your own basket and admire and be happy with your precious purchases.
  3. If you feel your eyes straying to the displays, try looking at the people around you. Play a game to see if you can guess who will be the first to crack and grab something off a rack.
  4. As you come along side the potato chips, look beyond them. Perhaps you can envision skewers of shish-kebab with your favorite morsels on the barbeque at home. Try to hear them sizzling. Try to smell them cooking. Try to think about getting home.
  5. Now we are at the soda cooler. Wouldn’t that taste good… No, no. Just a little bit farther to the front of the line. We are almost there. A little bit more and we get to the checkout. Once we check out, we will be home free.

Aw man, the candy rack…


2 thoughts on “Avoiding Impulse Buys

  1. Nice map. Some store takes this to extreme. There’s a Marshall in my neighborhood that heard paying customers through 2 aisle of impulse items. :-)

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