Creating a Budget for Your Impulse Buys

Even the smartest savers occasionally find themselves making impulse buys. Sometimes the purchase is something small, like a bag of gourmet potato chips calling out your name at the checkout line. Other times, the impulse buy is something much bigger, like a beach vacation you booked in the middle of a trying day at the office.

Lifehacker suggests a way to gain the upper hand on impulse buys: create a discretionary budget precisely for those kinds of splurges. Doing so can alleviate the feelings of guilt you might have when you find yourself spending money on something unexpected – and perhaps unnecessary. Once you create a splurge budget to avoid spending on impulse buys, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself now and then. Just make sure you don’t throw your monthly budget out of whack by doing so.

If you’re looking to avoid impulse buys altogether, Wise Bread has some helpful tips you may want to follow. “9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying” suggests taking steps like avoiding shopping when you’re upset, or when you’re with people who encourage you to spend.

If impulse buys only come up once a month or so, consider parking your discretionary budget funds into a dedicated account, like a Money Market or Online Savings account, where that money will earn interest and be easily accessible.

Do you keep a discretionary budget for impulse buys? How do you keep yourself from spending on things you don’t need?



  1. 1

    I keep some cash set aside for just that. If it’s impulsive, I can’t use my debit card/credit card for it, I think that keeps me from overspending, just having a bit of cash that will eventually run out!

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