Gretchen Rubin

Do You Fall Prey to These 4 Types of Impulse Purchases?

Do You Fall Prey to These 4 Types of Impulse Purchases?

Every Wednesday is List Day, or Tip Day, or Quiz Day.

This Wednesday: Do you fall for the four types of impulse buys?

When we're trying to change our buying  habits, one challenge is that marketers are so clever at enticing us into making impulse purchases.

In David Lewis's book Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It, he provides a list of the four main types of impulse buys, developed by industrial economist Hawkins Stern in 1962.

Do you recognize any of these categories in your own purchasing patterns?

1. Pure impulse buying -- you make a true novelty purchase, or escape purchase, that's very different from your typical purchasing pattern

2. Reminder impulse buying -- you see an item or remember something that reminds you that you need an item

3. Suggestion impulse buying-- you see a product for the first time and imagine a need for it

4. Planned impulse buying -- (isn't this label an oxymoron? oh well) you make a purchase based on price specials, coupons, etc.

Now, I know that some folks out there are my fellow under-buyers, and we have to force ourselves to make impulse purchases of the #2 sort. Even when I know I need something, I hate to buy it!

Interestingly, Lewis notes that people generally don't consider it a mistake to make impulse purchases. Research suggests that only about 1 in 5 people regret it, and 2 out of 5 say they feel good about it. (If you don't feel good about it, here are 5 tips to resist impulse shopping.)

If you battle impulse purchasing, what category gives you the most trouble? How do you combat it? Of course, we're always told to shop with a list--and seeing these four categories makes it clear why that's helpful in fighting impulsive spending.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

icon emailNewsletterLight

Get monthly newsletter updates from Gretchen.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Monthly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free monthly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.