Impulse spending happens to everyone. You’re cruising along, budgeting correctly and feeling good about your saving habits when suddenly you spot something wonderful on sale or some new gadget. Before you even know what is happening, you’re at the cash register, handing over your credit card. Too much impulse buying can lead to big credit card bills, too many personal loans, and no savings. Here’s how to curb the impulse:

1) Give ads a pass. Catalogs, flyers, commercials, and other forms of advertising are all designed to make you want to buy, buy, buy. Give these a pass and you’re less likely to crave shopping. Be especially vigilant about those glossy magazines – they tend to make you want to shop because they are mostly ads.

2) Talk yourself out of ads. When you are confronted with an ad or a great sale, use the same techniques advertisers use to talk yourself out of the purchase. Consider the flaws of the product, whether you really want it, how much room it would clutter in your home, how much you’d save if you didn’t buy it… Come up with a list of reasons not to buy and the desire for that item will melt faster than an ice cream in June.

3) Reduce shopping time. The less time you spend wandering around in a store, the less potential impulse items can catch your eye.

4) Shop with a list and intention. Before you leave your home, make a list of what you need and organize it so that you can shop most effectively. Shopping with a list can curb impulse shopping.

5) Check your list twice. Once you make your shopping list, go through it once or twice to make sure you really need everything on your list. Cutting out an item or two can save you a good amount of cash. Try to separate needs and wants.

6) Pay in cash and only bring what you need. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid overspending, since it places a physical limit on spending and makes you aware of overspending.…