The Differences between Deliberate and Impulsive Spending

If you’re worried about your spending habits, it’s likely that impulse buying is to blame. 

However much we all think we need that new pair of shoes, or that fancy coffee, or perhaps that takeaway when we have food at home; the truth is, we don’t. 

It’s just our impulses dragging us down once again.

What is impulse spending?

Impulse spending is defined by the tendency to buy goods or a service without planning to in advanced. 

When someone takes the decision to purchase something in the spur of the moment, it’s usually triggered by an emotion or reaction; it’s certainly not planned or deliberate. 

The top impulse buys are usually food, shoes, or beauty products. Although, they can consist of anything.

For instance, if you’re out for your weekly shop and you purchase a loaf of bread that was at the top of your shopping list, that’s a deliberate buy. If, however, you decide to also pick up the special offer bar of Cadbury’s chocolate that’s calling your name, that would count as an impulsive purchase. 

Ultimately, whatever it is that you decide to impulse buy, the build-up can have detrimental effects on your bank account. 

How can you stop impulse buying?

Impulse buying can be a hard habit to kick, so here are a few tips that might help.

Stick to the list

It sounds simple, but it’s much harder than it seems. The next time you’re out on a grocery run, make sure you follow your shopping list religiously. 

Limiting yourself to not buying anything that might lure you will help you be more intentional and less impulsive, saving you a significant amount of money in the long-term. 

Press the ‘pause’ button

As previously mentioned, an impulse buy is usually triggered by some sort of emotion or reaction. 

When you find yourself with that sudden urge to purchase something unnecessary, take a step back and ask yourself: do I need this item, or am I impulse buying? 

You’ll be surprised how few purchases you really need to make. 


If you have a suspicion that your spending habits are getting too much, you should always take time to reflect. 

Most impulse buys are related to shoppers who attempt to make themselves feel better via a spot of ‘retail therapy’. If this is you, then it’s worth considering what other activities you can do to make yourself feel happier. 

Ideally, ones that do not involve unnecessary spending. What if a walk through a beautiful local park or 10 minutes relaxing or meditating could help you to raise your spirits?

Can hiring an accountant help with impulse buying?

The short answer is: yes! An accountant can be invaluable when it comes to rectifying spending habits. 

They can help with all areas of finances, including: 

  • personal finances and admin;
  • guidance and advice on purchasing decisions;
  • helping you save and invest instead of spending; and
  • salary discussions and planning.

If you consider yourself an impulsive buyer, accountants are useful for a lot more than just advice. They will be able to set your daily, weekly, or even monthly budgets to ensure you know what you should be spending. 

This will allow you the freedom to continue buying the luxuries you desire, just with much more of an eye on your budget and the priorities in life. 

Ultimately, the goal is to go from an impulse buyer to a deliberate buyer. We all need – or want – new shoes now and then; just make sure they’re on the list!

If you need financial support or advice, Trinity accountants are more than happy to help – just get in touch today!

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