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I Almost Made An Impulse Buy!!!

impulse buysI’ve been having a really hard time recently trying to decide whether or not to spend money on home repairs and improvements. I think once you’ve been on spending lock down, it’s really hard to let go of that thrifty mentality. Apparently, I’m not the only one as John at Frugal Rules seems to be having the same issues.

This isn’t the first time since we paid off our credit card debt that I’ve felt this way.  I think being cautious about spending is a good thing, but will I ever get to a point where I don’t have to second guess so much? Is there a way to know when it’s the right time to spend money? I almost threw all this out the window this weekend with a crazy impulse buy. Now that I’m back on the wagon, we can look at the situation and learn some lessons.

Do You Ever Need New Furniture?

I’m looking at our living room couch as I write this post. It is kind of a suede like material that we loved when we picked it out about 10 years ago. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best material for having pets and small children, as is is now a wrinkled mess of stains and lumpy cushions. I actually bought a cover to hide some of the blemishes, but I think the cover looked more disheveled than the actual couch.

But, if I go sit on our couch, it still is comfy. It holds our weight, even if it does sag a little bit. Springs don’t poke me in the behind. Do we really need a new couch or am I just too into appearances? 

Decide If Your Purchase Will Give You Value

We made the mistake of wandering into a furniture store last weekend. We went into Durango for a Home Depot trip, not related to furniture in any way at all. We had an early dinner and walked around down town. That’s where Jim and I met, so it’s sort of nostalgic for us:)

My #1 rule if you don’t want to spend money is to stay out of stores, but we broke our own rule and went into an outdoor gear store because of a sale. We didn’t find any amazing deals, but since we were on a roll, we also went into the furniture store next door. Of course, I saw the perfect couch to replace old saggy.

For a few minutes, I felt like the old Kim who would have bought a new couch without much of a second thought. I can honestly say that I almost made an impulse buy. I could feel that rush of adrenaline or whatever happens when you’re about to buy something really cool. Then, my new self took back over with all the questions you need to ask before a purchase.

  • Is this a want or a need? Want
  • Will this add value or happiness to my life? Maybe, not 100% sure.  That was enough to make me realize a purchase was not happening today, but if you go on…
  • Is this the best possible price? No idea, as this was not a planned purchase and I haven’t looked around at all. Even if it had been a half price sale, I would  have had no idea if the purchase price was a good one because I hadn’t done my homework. Don’t ever think a store wouldn’t try to trick you into thinking something was a good deal.

Can’t I Ever Just Buy Something Without Thinking It To Death?

Absolutely! Living in the good ole U.S. of A. or most of the other places my blog readers come from gives  you the right to free will. You can buy until your heart’s content. We did that for years!!

However, I learned the hard way that buying does not make your heart content. Being in control of your finances and out of debt does. If that means I have to consider every big purchase for months, then that’s what I’ll do. It isn’t spontaneous. I’ll never surprise my husband with a new car for his birthday, but I do believe we will get to retire long before the majority of people, and we’ll have enough money to get to do things that are really important to us. Buying new furniture is not on that list.


I don’t think new couches are bad. At some point, we will probably get another one. Being financially sound doesn’t mean you have to have have crappy furniture forever, but it is sometimes hard to know when to spend and when to save. I think we’ll consider if we really think a new couch is a good idea, and if we still feel like the one we saw is the one, we’ll put our current furniture in a yard sale this spring. If not, a little sagging never hurt anyone!

Have you made any impulse buys lately? Do you think that impulse ever goes away? 



About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Honestly, it’s so hard to control impulse buying. Just lately I want to buy a new laptop even if my laptop is still working fine, but I controlled myself and forget about buying a new one.

    • I don’t want to talk about laptops. My shift button does not work most of the time, but I’m determined to make it last for at least another 6 months.

  2. I totally made an impulse buy this weekend – $15 for an unusual tropical plant from our local tropical fruit club. And I’ll have to spend another chunk of change on a nice pot and the correct types of soil and fertilizer for it. But I enjoy it a ton already and hopefully it’ll bring me joy for years if I care for it properly =)

  3. Hmmm I don’t think I’ve made any impulse buys recently, but I definitely have in the past! New furniture always looks appealing 😉

  4. I have this debate all the time too! I usually talk myself out of it buy thinking about what a pain it will be to haul around (or sell) said desk/chair/couch/table etc when I eventually move. Once I’m in a place I think I’ll live in for a few years then I’ll probably go a little crazy nesting for he first time in my life.
    P.S. I have the exact same type of couch!

  5. Haha…this is exactly what I wrote about today…how I learned to avoid impulse buying. Great bloggers think alike! 🙂 I had a huge problem with this and still battle it to this day. Even when we create spending discipline in our life that urge to impulse buy still comes back occasionally. Can we ever buy something without thinking it to death? I think it depends on the item and the price.

  6. I think just about everyone makes an impulse purchase from time to time. I try to keep it under control, but it still happens!

  7. “However, I learned the hard way that buying does not make your heart content.” I could not agree more Kim! I learned the same thing as well and has helped me fend off ever going in to debt again. We’ve not made any impulse buys lately, that I can think of. I think working from home makes that a little easier to manage – as long as I stay off of Amazon. 😉 Thanks for the mention as well!

    • Amazon is so smart to make it soooo easy to order. Sometimes I have to walk away from the computer if I’m putting a bunch of stuff in my cart!

  8. If you really like sitting on it, you could try to change the fabric and it would last for a while longer. Or just buy a nice throwover to cover it.

    • My throw did not work at all. It kept getting wrinkled up and looked horrible. All in all, it isn’t that bad after I think about it. I suppose we should just hang onto it until the daughter learns not to use markers on the couch.

  9. I was thinking about my leather couch lately too…it’s only 5 years old but a bit of the leather is peeling. It isn’t that noticeable but I’m not sure how much long it’ll last. I definitely want it to last longer. As for impulse buys…I overthink purchases ALL THE TIME so I’m rarely susceptible to impulse buys unless it’s for a few dollars. Anything more…I think about it for a long time…often times, the impulse goes away. If it doesn’t…I guess I must really want or need it.

    • That is such a good point that the impulse usually goes away if you give it enough time. If not, then it probably is a good purchase.

  10. I am weird with some purchases and very loose with others. I am still putting off buying myself a new laptop, but was fairly quick to replace our broken wine fridge. Yes, one obviously costs more than the other, but on the scale of “this is useful” the laptop is absolutely the winner.

  11. Wow, do you live near Durango? Holy cow I love that town.

    Is your sofa pink?

    • We love Durango too, and yes we are only about 50 miles away. No, it’s not pink, but it kind of looks that way in the picture. Although, there has been so much spilled on it that it might have some Red D&C #12 dye mixed in at this point. If you visit Durango, you have to let me know!

  12. Good for you, Kim! There is nothing wrong with buying something you want as long as you really sure it’s what you want, not that impulse buy it would have been. Like you said, now you can do some research to make sure you get the best price and find the right sofa for you one your schedule. I do think once you get out of debt that it takes some time to strike that balance where you feel comfortable spending again and trusting your instincts. It sounds like you’re finding that place for you.

    • I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable because I think I’ll always remember the debt years, but hopefully I’ll find the happy medium. I guess it’s good to be cautious.

  13. We don’t have any furniture — bed, couch, dresser, table, anything! We do have a mattress, because we aren’t quite cheap enough to sleep on the floor and destroy our backs!

    However, my husband wants to purchase both a couch and a bed. We have a separate savings for it and are forgoing other things (like eating out once a week instead of twice and drinking less) in order to afford it. The plan is to try to buy used and if we can’t find anything, we’ll buy locally made.

    My impulse purchases are almost ALWAYS food related. I’m working on this by meal planning and buying only healthy snacks on impulse, like oranges 🙂

    • I envy that in a way. When I moved out west, I had nothing except what fit in my car. I remember buying a used dresser and a really cheap futon, and really didn’t need much other than that. I think we’ve come too far at this point to be that minimalist. I like most of our stuff, but someday, I’m going to sell it all and travel around in an Airstream, at least that’s the plan for now.

  14. It’s so hard to avoid impulse buy when on a spending lock down, especially when you spy a bargain!
    I recently blew all of my “emergency” fund on some airfares overseas, just because they were a massive bargain!!

    I think I need to start leaving my credit cards and debit cards at home and imply leave the house with cash…

    • I’m all for travel, but probably would not use my emergency fund unless it was to visit family for something really important. Where did you get tickets to?

  15. If buying a new car in two days counts, then yes. 🙂 Ok truthfully that was more of a need at that point. I think it’s ok to buy those kids of things….but with some time and thought put into it. I think we often save so much we start to feel really guilty spending money.

    • I wonder how much is really something I want vs what I think I’m supposed to have. I could literally keep our couch until if falls apart, then bring in some lawn chairs, but all my family and friends would think we were nuts. I think part of me still tries to keep up somewhat of an appearance, even if we are a million times better than we used to be.

  16. I can relate to being annoyed with myself in terms of how many times I question myself before a purchase. Can’t a girl just buy a pair of earrings?! The couch thing specifically I understand. I really like for my home to look nice, and unfortunately furniture is expensive. We’re going to have to furnish an apartment pretty soon here and the hubs hates furniture from thrift stores so we’ll have to see where we end up!

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