When you enter a supermarket, the first department you smell is usually the bakery and its freshly baked bread or the deli with prepared meals.
While waiting in line to buy groceries, you’re bombarded by items targeting impulse buyers — candy bars, magazines, toys and more.
Retailers have put a great deal of thought into their marketing strategy that leads you to impulse buying.
How the store smells, the music that’s playing and the location of certain items all are no accident. They’re meant to tempt you.
“It takes some discipline to avoid impulse buying,” says David Aron, associate professor of marketing at Dominican University in River Forest, Ill. “Remember, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to buy it.”
To avoid impulse buying and to make unplanned purchases a thing of the past, follow these tips from financial experts.
Shop with a list
To avoid impulse buying, make a list for all your shopping, whether it’s groceries, tools, clothes for adults or children, or gifts for the holidays, says Taffy Wagner, author of “Debt Dilemma” and “Discharged into Debt.”
“You should also write down which stores you plan to visit ahead of time so you don’t get distracted,” Wagner says.
Making a list gives you a game plan ahead of time so when you walk into a store, you won’t be swayed by the sales. You’ll stay focused and stick to your budget.
Shop on a full stomach
“If you shop on a full stomach, you’re more likely to look at food as a product to buy and less as something to eat right now,” says Aron.
Your senses will be attacked by the sights and smells of what you want to eat. If your stomach is empty, you will be less rational in your decisions, Aron says.
When you’re hungry, you imagine yourself eating something, and you’re more likely to add unplanned buys to your cart, Aron says.
Impulse buying on an empty stomach often includes picking up whatever you can unwrap quickly and eat in the car -- items that are often more expensive than something you can prepare at home.