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Have you ever stood at the check-out line and "conveniently" picked out an item that you didn't think of buying in the first place? This is impulse buying and it can turn into a bad habit which undermines our overall budgeting and savings. Shopping can be a fun activity, but sometimes it's just hard to resist the temptation, especially during the sales season where everything looks like a bargain. Also, with the rise of online shopping, impulse buying is taken to a whole new level where you don't even have to be physically in a store to make the transaction. This provides more opportunities for impulse buying.

The most obvious solution is to stay away from malls and online shopping sites, but we know that this can be quite challenging. Fear not, here are five simple tips to help you control impulse buying.

1. Time Out!

Come across something that you would like to buy? Take a step back and delay your purchase decision. Whether it is for two hours or two days, you avoid making a hasty purchase. After you have put some time between you and your intended purchase, you may find that you do not need the item after all.

2. Don't buy for the wrong reasons

We often equate seasonal sales and discounts with getting great deals, and this in turn encourages us to spend more. Whilst buying items at discounted prices are a good way to save money, the general idea is to buy only the things that you need. Make out a shopping list before you hit the stores to avoid buying more than you need. Before you buy something, ask yourself whether you really need it or do you simply want it. Thinking about your previous impulse purchases that end up unused and taking more of your storage space might deter you from impulse buying.

3. Use cash instead of credit card

People tend to spend less if they pay in cash rather than credit card because it is psychologically harder to hand out cash. Also if you only have limited money in your wallet, you will give it a second thought before handing it over to a cashier. If you find it difficult not to use your credit card, simply leave it at home.

4. Don't shop when upset

If you are feeling sad or depressed, you might easily convince yourself that a trendy gadget or a pretty dress will make you feel better or look good. But there are many ways to ease stress. Try exercising, going for a walk, listening to music or having a drink with friends, but avoid spending money at all costs.

5. Spend within budget

Come up with a budget and a shopping list, and stick to it whenever you go shopping. Easier said than done, right? But it works and will pay off in the long run. Well, having a tight budget that leaves no room for wants may be hard to stick to. So no harm in leaving a little money in your budget for a fun purchase each month.