10 Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Making Right Now

Impulse Buying

Impulse buying is very popular. Many people can look around their home and find that many of the things that they own were purchased on impulse. An impulse buy is something that you buy, but you really don’t need. An advertising agency called Mediascape has stated that the average American will spend over $114,000 in their life on impulse buys. If you want to stop spending money on things that you don’t need, you should start understanding what you are buying on impulse. Below are the top 10 impulse buys that people make that they shouldn’t.

Sale Items

One of the most common things that a person will buy that they don’t need is something that is on sale. An impulse buyer will rationalize that since the item is on sale, they should get it. As long as they are going to be saving money, they are actually doing a good thing by purchasing a sale item. Since you don’t really need the item that is on sale, you are just a victim of marketing strategies. Close to 88 percent of all impulse buys is sale items.

Beer and Wine

When beer and wine were sold strictly in the liquor stores, they were not impulse buys. The only way that you would see these items is if you drove to the liquor store specially to purchase them. Now that you can buy beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores, they have become impulse buys. If you are walking through the supermarket doing your weekly shopping and you walk past the liquor aisle, you are likely to walk down it and make a purchase, even if you didn’t have any plans to have a drink that day. The next time you do your grocery shopping, go before the store is legally allowed to sell beer and wine. It is the best way to avoid this impulse buy.

Anything From the Dollar Store

Just about every city and town have a store where everything in the store costs $1. If you walk into the store for just an items or two, the chances of you walking out with 10 to 15 items are very high. While you are walking to find the item that you are actually there for, you will see many other things that catch your eye. It is easy to rationalize that the additional items cost just $1, so you can afford to get them. Dollar stores have their aisles strategically set up so that you have to walk past items such as candy, batteries, and beverages. Even though each item is $1, when you end up spending $25 when you only planned to purchase $3, it can add up. If you do need to go to the dollar store, beware.

Junk Food

Anyone who has ever gone into their local convenience store for milk knows the setup. The dairy aisle is located all the way in the back of the store and the candy is all located in the front. When you are standing in line to cash out, you have a few minutes to wait and stare at all of the junk food in front of you. In those few short minutes, it is easy to grab a candy bar, a pack of gum, or a Slim Jim that you didn’t plan to buy. You may not have even known that you wanted it until it was right in front of your face. If you want to avoid the extra cost and the extra calories, try to avoid scanning the candy counter while you are waiting in line.

Home Decor

There are certain home décor items that people will buy, but they don’t really need. If you are walking through the department store, through the home goods section, it is very easy to buy things that you don’t need. You could see a cute set of place mats or dish towels that you really don’t need but would look great in your kitchen. It is the small home décor items that most people impulse buy, but if you spend enough time in the home goods department, the spending can really add up.


Clothing is a very common impulse buy. It is the reason that many people’s closets are bursting at the seams. If you walk into a department store, you will notice that the clothing section is the first section closest to the door. Stores do this so that you walk in and see something that you like right away. You may not need it, but you want it. If you shop at a department store enough times, you will eventually end up spending hundreds of dollar on clothing impulse buys.

Anything at the Register

If you have ever gone shopping at a department store and waited in line, you know that there are huge selections of items on a self right at the register. You can find cell phone chargers, headphones, batteries, hand sanitizer, lint brushes, chapstick, and a variety of other products that you really don’t need but you buy because it is there. These impulse buys can bring your final total up by over $15 when you actually get your items on the belt for the cashier to ring them up. If you are trying to avoid making these types of impulse buys, you should try to avoid looking at the items on that rack.

The Latest Cell Phone

When the latest version of your cell phone hits the stores, your first instinct will likely be to buy it. Your phone could be in perfect working order, buy you still want to spend hundreds of dollars on the newer version without even thinking about it. As long as you get it first, you are happy. Next time the latest version is released, think twice. Chances are you are wasting your money on the upgrade.


If you look in most women’s makeup bags and even in your own makeup bag, you will likely see several shades of lipstick and eyeshadow. You will even see makeup products that have never been opened. This is because makeup is often an impulse buy. If you walk into your local pharmacy, you will notice that the makeup section is at the front of the store. This is so that something will catch your eye and you will buy if. If you are going to the store to buy shampoo and soap, chances are you will see something that catches your eye and you will buy it, even if you didn’t need it.


It may sound crazy, but many people adopt a pet on impulse. You can be walking through the store and you see the adorable face of a puppy, kitten, or a rabbit. Suddenly that little face overrides any logical thinking that you may have. The next thing you know you have a new pet in the home that you never expected to have. Before you buy a puppy, kitten, or any other pet, you should go home and sleep on it. A pet bought as an impulse buy is nothing but a hassle.

People spend hundreds of dollars on impulse buys each year. The best way to avoid an impulse buy is to make a list and stick to it. Anything else that catches your eye can wait until your budget allows it.


Leave a Reply