Fight the YOLO! Eliminating impulse buying

4 min read

Do you remember where you were when you first heard the term YOLO? You only live once, was the adrenaline-fueled motto that encouraged us to live like rockstars and even be adrenaline junkies always chasing the next thrill.

Over a decade later, although the term YOLO is long forgotten, the dopamine-inducing culture it created lives on. And instead of late nights living it up, and unplanned vacays we’ve subscribed to out-of-budget shopping binges, and unearned self-rewards.

If you walk into the mall with a plan to buy diapers and baby formula only to return home with a new pair of bedroom slippers, an SUV you can’t afford, and sweets and chocolates to survive an apocalypse – this blog post is for you.

How to stop impulse buying

If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, impulse buying – for whatever reason – is fun. But, when your goal is achieving financial stability, there’s a point where that instant gratification should be weighed against the sacrifices we need to make for the future we want. To that end, it’s important to close the door to impulse buying completely. Here are 3 ways to help you do just that.

1. Make a budget

Yeah, we know, this again.

But, we believe that setting and keeping to a budget is the foundation to being financially free so much that we’ll say it until it’s ingrained into your psyche. Budget. Budget. Budget.

Now, it will take a lot of willpower in the beginning, and you’ll probably go through withdrawals. So to save you the pain of rocking yourself to sleep in a foetal position, we suggest you give yourself a line item in the budget to buy something for yourself. That way, you bypass giving up the YOLO life cold turkey and still feel as though you’re treating yourself, within reason of course.

2. Pause, and take a deep breath 

Want to know how to Spot a marketing gimmick? Look out for those flashy sales that are attached to countdowns. Marketers know that as humans, we’re just as devoted to FOMO (fear of missing out) as we are to YOLO.

So how do they reel us in?  With a timer that says whatever they’re selling will be at that price for a limited time – which isn’t always true. Sales come and ago, and chances are that if you pause and take a deep breath before hitting the “purchase” button, you’d find the same item on sale at a time when it makes better financial sense to buy it.

3. Feeling emotional? Don’t go shopping!

Emotions are just wonderful, aren’t they? They colour our lives with personality and make life worth living. But, emotional shopping is the enemy!

 It has a tendency to sneak up unannounced too, especially when we’re feeling overly or less than good about ourselves.

Kind of like that one friend who’s always a bit of a bad influence, it can creep up on you saying things like, ”That was the best workout of your life! You deserve a reward. Treat yourself, after all, YOLO (echoing into the distance three times).”

And it doesn’t just egg you on to buy for yourself. Any reason to shop will do. “Oh, you haven’t bought anything for the S.O/the kids/the in-laws in a long time! Shame on you!”

And just like that, you fall prey to a tennis bracelet, the latest Swatch watch, and a bunch of toys that you probably can’t afford.

When you feel emotional whether it’s excitement, guilt, or stress, find something else to keep yourself occupied with until the feeling passes, like drinking a cup of chamomile tea, watching your favourite series, or even squeezing a stress ball. With time, the urges and the emotions will dissolve into a distant memory, saving you an unpleasant increase on your monthly credit card repayment that would come as a result of impulse shopping.


Financial independence is about taking small steps towards bigger ones. For some of us, cutting back on impulse shopping could feel like a small step while for others it may feel like the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

But, at the end of the day, it’s all about taking your control back. Because as much as you’d like to believe that your money has a mind of its own, you’re the mastermind behind how it’s spent and where it goes.

You get to decide how soon you achieve financial stability. The truth of the matter is that splurging on the notion that you only live once, won’t give you the quality of life you’re trying to build.


The content provided in this article is provided as general information. It is not intended as nor does it constitute financial, tax, legal, investment, or other advice. We accept no responsibility from any loss arising as a result of your reliance on information contained in this article, any related communication or on our app.