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6 Ways to Stop Pandemic-Induced Impulse Buying

Experts suggest fail-proof ways to resist the urge to shop mindlessly  

Do you feel smug and triumphant when you add things to your shopping cart or make purchases online? Does that give you a sense of control or a moment of joy? If your answer is a resounding yes, then welcome to the world of impulse buyers. Thanks to covert advertising, alluring sales and offers, mindless consumerism has been on the rise for some time now. Add to this the fear and uncertainty of a pandemic, this makes for a biggest trigger to dive headlong into impulse buys. 

When the pandemic broke out, news of stores running out of instant noodles and pasta, biscuits, chips and other ready to eat food did the rounds. Hapless shoppers either queued up outside stores or placed massive orders online, so much so that sites crashed. 

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Now caught in the second wave, it has become clear that we may buy and hoard different products ranging from food, makeup to clothes but all of us react the same way when faced with uncertainty. “During this pandemic people have been experiencing heightened levels of stress and worry. For many a way to assuage concerns is to try and control situations by ensuring they have enough and more at home through making excessive purchases. For others being able to purchase things helps them experience momentary joy and pleasure and provides a sense of gratification in the moment,” explains Kamna Chhibber Head of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

For many retail therapy is also a way to wrest control in unfamiliar circumstances. In the past year, while some turned to sustainable lifestyle, many found joy in hoarding stuff and still do. If you belong to the second category, here are some expert tips that will help you reign in impulse buying.

1. Assess your needs

Ask yourself if you really need this, suggests Dr Kamna. You need to be aware of the reasons before buying something. “Recognising the need is helpful as it will help you to take a step back and evaluate whether it is required or not. This will stop you from unnecessarily making a purchase,” she adds. 

2. Shop with a list!

Celebrity stylist Sanam Ratansi, recommends you shop only when you have a list handy. “When you shop with a list you tend to stick to those stores or sections in a store that you need to which keeps you away from unnecessary wandering and temptation to pick stuff you don’t even need,” says Sanam.

3. Put a spending budget in place

Calculate roughly how much you need to spend on the stuff you need. “Having a budget makes it easier. Make sure you don’t exceed that amount,” says Sanam.

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4. Sleep over it 

Make it a rule to sleep over anything that you have stumbled upon and decided you need. “You might feel differently the next day,” says Sanam. Dr Kamna agrees, she says,“Pushing it by a few minutes, hours or days, will help dissipate the urge.” 

5. shop with a sensible friend

Shop with someone who doesn’t have the same impulsive buying tendencies you have! A friend who will tell you, “YOU DON’T NEED IT ! Put it down and let’s go! “ 

6. Do not scroll shopping sites when bored

You will end up buying something. Shop only when you need something ! “My worst habit is scrolling through websites for entertainment… it’s a recipe for disaster,” says Sanam.