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Today’s consumers have purchasing power at the touch of a button and a recent U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Survey shows that most Americans prefer using digital apps to paying with cash.

While the new age of shopping may be convenient, it can also lead to impulse buying beyond what one can afford. If you’re inclined to make purchases without fully thinking them through, we’ve compiled some tips to help you avoid being an impulsive buyer.

  • Start a monthly budget. Budgeting is a smart way to curb spending and create a financial plan for yourself. Recording all of your monthly expenses can also help you learn your spending habits and adjust them going forward. For example, you may come to realize that buying your morning coffee instead of brewing it at home is costing you a lot of extra money each month.
  • Pay attention to marketing strategies that companies use to encourage sales. When shopping in clothing stores, the first items you see are often full price. Give yourself some time and explore the entire store, looking for discounted items and clearance racks.
  • Consider carrying cash and leaving your credit cards at home. Leaving your credit cards behind can help break impulsive spending tendencies as you’ll only have a set amount available to spend.
  • Distinguish things that you need from things that you want. Focus your spending first on things that are necessary, such as car repairs, groceries, or the electric bill. Only after the necessities are accounted for, then consider any “nice to have” items, such as a new pair of shoes or sporting equipment that you wanted.

If you find yourself struggling with finances, there are plenty of ways to get your financial house in order! Additional consumer resources and tools are available online on the Division of Banks’ Consumer Money Matters webpage.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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