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Taking The Impulse Out Of Impulse Buying: Protecting Your Wallet And Bank Account

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - As the weekend approaches, perhaps you and your family or friends will head out for some shopping.

However, with inflation eating away at our dollars now more than ever, we have to be mindful of impulse buying. It gets even the most care of shoppers and it's big business for retailers.

It's simply things we weren't planning to buy but suddenly just have to have it - and it happens a lot.

Those purchases can be big or small, like candy bars at the checkout counter, so why do we buy things we didn't come to the store for?

"[It's] a method of self-soothing," explained Trae Bodge. "We are dealing with a lot and so sometimes it just feels good to open your laptop and scroll around or stroll through a store."

We do it a lot, a OnePoll survey indicated we impulse spend about $280/month, which Bodge said we need to rethink.

"Inflation is up over 7-percent, we really can't afford to buy things that we don't need or can't use," Bodge said.

The retail world, however, has other plans.

"If you are in that store, they are very good at tempting you with endcaps, and big signs and free samples and discounts," she explains.

As for other stores, they send you through the gauntlet of deals just to get to the checkout counter.

"That's when you get sucked in, it's like something that you don't think that you need but then you need it," Bodge added.

So, what to do if you see something you suddenly really want?

"I would say to walk away, give it a day or two, and then if you feel just as strongly about that item then you can make your move and make your purchase," she said.

WATCH: Fighting Impulse Buying While Online Shopping

Now, that's just retail shopping, online shopping is an entirely different beast and Bodge said shopping online is an even bigger issue as retailers have become so good at putting items at your fingertips at every turn.

During the shutdown phase of the pandemic, online shopping exploded, and with it, impulse buying.

Unlike in a store, it can be done at any time.

In no time can you find you have spent a lot of money you weren't planning to spend.

When it comes to reacting to an urge to buy online, a survey found 88% of us do it.

"It's $17 billion in spending because we're spending over $80 per person when we impulse shop online," Bodge revealed.

Bodge explained that retailers know when you come online just how to get your attention.

"Retailers have found a way to sort of, infiltrate, every experience that we're having online, so we're constantly tempted to shop," she said.

Bodge added that in order to protect your wallet, you have to be honest with yourself.

"If you're shopping around and you find something that appeals to you to ask yourself very plainly, is this something that I need?"

If it is, before you put it in your virtual shopping cart, Bodge recommended downloading a browser extension.

"As you are shopping around online it will alert you to available savings and it also compares prices on Amazon which I find helpful because there's an assumption that Amazon is always cheaper and that's not always the case," she said.

That may take the "impulse" out of impulse buying but according to Bodge, it needs to.

"We can't be such impulse shoppers anymore because everything is so much more expensive," she said.

Bodge recommended Cently, Sidekick, SlickDeals, Piggy, and Honey.

You can see her full list of recommendations at this link.

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