How to Stop Shopping Momentum in its Tracks

Woman on a Shopping SpreeIf you’re anything like me than there will have been a time when you’ve gone to the grocery store, list in hand with the absolute intent of only buying a couple of items, then before you know what’s happened some sparkly prize has caught your eye and you’re on the slippery slope to spending well outside your budget. By the time you get to the checkout counter you wonder what came over you, as piles and piles of unnecessary luxury items pass your eyes on the way to being scanned by the cashier.

The mental act of going from the deliberation stage of considering what to buy, to the active stage when you actually make purchases is known as shopping momentum, during which people are more prone to purchasing impulse items because mentally they have already begun to shed their inhibitions when it comes to spending money. A fact the stores are well aware of.

Almost all retailers will actively use shopping momentum to encourage their customers to buy more than they had actually intended upon first arriving. Some of the best methods I have found for combating the urge to splurge when in the grips of a shopping frenzy are as follows:

Only Use Cash

Most people wouldn’t dream of leaving home without their various bits of plastic, but honestly there is no better way to make sure you don’t spend money outside your budget than to ensure you don’t take easy access to such money with you when you go shopping. Taking out the cash before you go to the store, then leaving your cards at home is the best way to know you won’t spend more than you mean to.

Avoid Shopping on Payday

If you are currently working in a job where your money starts to get a bit tight at the end of each month, one of the worst things you can do is give in to your urge to shop as soon as you get paid. With plenty of excess cash around it can be tempting to buy those things we’ve been craving the last few weeks all at once, but giving in to these temptations often lead to people overspending, putting them in a rough position until the next payday rolls around.

Eat Before Shopping

Studies have shown that a hungry appetite can cause people to be more responsive to impulse buying, as they try to stop the craving sensations they are currently experiencing. By making sure you fill yourself up before you go shopping, you will find yourself better able to resist picking up items other than what you came for.

Don’t Buy Checkout Line Goods

Shops love to sprinkle the areas around their checkouts with low cost items that they know a lot of their customers will find either extremely handy or just plain tempting. Sometimes it can be goods as simple as candy, other times it will be everyday products that are currently being discounted, either way it is an alluring trap set up to get you to buy something you honestly don’t need. Remember that and do your utmost to make sure you never impulse buy something at the counter.

Maintain Shopping Lists

Having a plan and trying to stick to it is much more effective than not having a plan at all. Write shopping lists and make sure to do everything you can to stick to them. You can allow yourself a little bit of spending money for impulse buying, but remember to be mindful of your budget at all times.

Use Coupons

Taking a bunch of coupons with you to the store is a helpful reminder that you are trying to work within a budget. Take some time to search for promo codes and coupons online before you go shopping, this can often help satisfy some of the need to find the best bargains, without resorting to impulse buying in order to do so.

If anyone else has some useful tips on how to break shopping momentum, or just on how to save money in general, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

This is a guest post by Ann Smarty of, where a community of bloggers exchange guest posts and build contacts.


  1. says

    Ann, good advice! All so simple, but so hard to execute sometimes. Definitely good rules to follow to avoid those costly pitfalls. Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed your article.


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