I have a friend who is scheduled to leave the military in October 2019. In December 2018, this man (I’ll call him John) bought a new $40,000 Toyota truck. John is excited but also very nervous about spending $600 a month for payments through many years. Now, he is anxiously contemplating on reenlisting in the Army because he wants to ensure he has a secured salary to pay for his brand new truck that he can barely afford. He’s also begging people on Facebook to help him find a secured job because he desperately doesn’t want to reenlist. Problems like this happen when people make impulse buys especially when the cost is $40,000.
Not all impulse buys are bad. You can be out shopping and walk past a Starbucks that you don’t need. Five dollars is expensive for a medium cup of coffee, but an impulse buy of coffee isn’t going to leave anyone with regret.
So, there is nothing wrong with an impulse buy here and there, and as long it is within your means. The big problems come when you make big purchases that you don’t really need. Like how last year I made an impulse buy on a gaming computer that cost $1200 plus another $200 for the monitor. I played a couple of games on it and now I don’t even use it. I’m having trouble finding anyone who is willing to buy it at half the price.
Even if the impulse buy isn’t as large as a new car or new computer, multiple small impulse purchases add up and before you know it you’ll be wondering where the few hundred dollars on your credit card came from. Impulse buys are addicting because the act releases a chemical in your brain called dopamine. Dopamine is the same chemical released when people orgasm, watch porn, or shoot up drugs.
The best practice when it comes to buying things you want is to pray on it and wait on it. If you pray about it and a voice in your head says no, it’ll be wise to listen to that voice. If you wait 72 hours and you still have a strong desire for the item, buy it.