10 Go-To Tips and Tricks To Stop You From Making Stupid Purchases

Are you struggling with impulse shopping and looking for ways to stop it? You’re not alone.

When someone asked a frugal online community, “What’s your go-to tip, trick, or story to tell yourself to stop you from making stupid purchases?” These were the top suggestions.

1. Time Is Money

When you translate the money into the time it takes to earn it, it’s easier to ask yourself if you would trade that much labor and time for what item you’re considering.


One person from the frugal community challenged people to take it a step further. Subtract your mandatory monthly expenses from your income. Then, divide that by the number of hours worked. You may make twenty bucks an hour, but your discretionary income is five dollars, not twenty. Now, ask yourself, is that thing worth eight hours?

2. Do I Actually Need That?

“Do I actually need that?” It’s a question one user asks herself before making any purchases. Additionally, she asks, Where will she put it? What will she get rid of to make room?

Related: 7 Ways to Avoid Impulsive and Compulsive Spending 

3. Stopped Fearing Lack

“I stopped fearing lack.” One user confessed they understand they are secure with their job. So she doesn’t need to “panic buy” things as she used to.” She continued that she’s adopted a minimalist lifestyle after downsizing three homes in eight years.


Her takeaway was only entertaining an interest in “experiences or consumables now.” Finally, she recommends practicing gratitude: ” I’m blessed to be in my position. It’s important to remember that.”

Related: Living With A Broken Dustpan: Lessons Learned from the Frugal-Not-By-Choice Trenches 

4. Two Rules Before Purchases

A recovering shopaholic weighed in with two rules for purchases.

  1. You MUST wait 24 hours before all unplanned purchases. If you want it so badly, you can get it after you sleep on it. 90% of the time, you’ll forget about the shiny object you wanted.
  2. Employ a $1 per use policy rule to consider before purchasing it. For example, if a shirt costs $20, you must think of 20 times you will wear the shirt.

5. Are You Willing to People Today?

A social anxiety sufferer was not alone in her tactic of asking herself, “Do I really want to go into a store and interact with people, or would I rather  go home?” Unless you need something, going home usually wins.

6. Wait Until Next Time

One frugal shopper shared that their father’s grandfather suggested that if you see something you want, wait until the next time you go to the store. If you continue to think about it, then it’s ok to buy it. However, you didn’t need it if you did not, and the urge is no longer there.

7. House Down Payment

Coffee is an impulse for one shopper who uses several things to detour her from going to the shops. First, she has favorite tumblers and mugs to drink from at home.


Next, she keeps a wide variety of coffee and flavored creamer. Finally, she reminds herself that she is saving for a house and chooses to go home instead of whatever overpriced drive-thru she used to find herself in.

8. Death Lessons About Stuff

Have you ever cleaned the home of a deceased loved one? According to many, it changes a person’s understanding of materialistic stuff. A bunch of the items winds up being donated or trashed. So realizing how unnecessary it is has helped shape a mindset of purchasing only food, necessities, and experiences.

9. Using a Budgeting App

There are dozens of budgeting apps that help people gain control of their finances. One is called You Need a Budget (YNAB) and is recommended highly by many frugal shoppers in this thread. “It’s cut out SO MUCH thought. Do I want something? Put it on the wishlist. Is everything funded and budgeted for? Buy it.”

Related: Best Budget Apps To Fit Your Goals and Lifestyle 

10. Cash Is King

Finally, only pay with cash, and “if you don’t have it, don’t spend it.” Several users swear by this method of limiting wasteful and impulse spending.


We hope you enjoyed this Reddit tips list for helping you to stop making stupid purchases.


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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.