Even though you head to the store with list in hand, it’s hard to refrain from checking out those specials on things that you may want but don’t really need.  Many people never look beyond that wonderfully low price tag to see how much those impulse buys will end up costing over the long haul.  Before you fill the closets and the garage with items that you use once or twice and then put away, take the time to consider the ramifications of not thinking before you buy.


Buying Clothing on an Impulse

Just about everyone is guilty of purchasing clothes that they find on a sale rack.  That’s fine if you happen to wear them regularly.  The problem is that when you buy something just because it fits and the price is right, it is more likely to end up in the back of the closet.

Think about purchasing a suit that you really don’t need.  The color is a little different from what you normally wear, but the price is so good that you can’t pass it up.  What happens is that you don’t really have any ties that go with the suit.  That means you need to go out and buy at least one tie that works.  Your dress shoes also don’t really go with the suit very well.  As a result, you end up shopping for shoes that you don’t really need, and will only end up wearing with that one suit.

When it’s all said and done, that sale price for the suit is now more than double the original cost, simply because you had to purchase the right accessories to get any use from it at all.

Impulse Buy Hidden Cost

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Shopaholics by Allen Ang, on Flickr.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


That New Motorcycle

You have a perfectly good car that gets you where you need to go.  There’s really no reason to buy a motorcycle, other than the fact that you want one to use for weekend excursions.  The idea of zipping along the highways with the wind in your face does sound appealing, but stop and think about what you are letting yourself in for.

Right off the bat, you will need the right clothes to wear.  That means a jacket and a helmet to provide a reasonable amount of protection.  You’ll also likely want gloves to protect your hands from drying out.  If the helmet doesn’t come with some sort of eye protection, that means new wrap around sunglasses.

Above and beyond the clothes, consider the cost of motorcycle insurance, because the last thing you want to do is get in an accident without insurance.  Even if you can have the coverage added to the plan already in place for your car, that means more expense each month.  Don’t forget the need for saddlebags or maybe a sidecar if you plan on taking anyone along on those excursions.  There are actually motorcycle accident attorneys available to you if for some reason you are in a dilemma or just have any questions.


Things You Really Need

Impulse buys are not limited to things that you want but can live without.  They can also relate to things you need.  Consider the case of a person who has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Since checking blood sugar levels regularly is important, that means buying a glucose meter.  Fortunately, there’s one on sale for a dirt-cheap price, and it happens to be a name brand.  Surely, that’s a good idea right?

Before jumping on that seemingly great offer, take the time to find out how much the testing strips will cost.  Some manufacturers attract attention by offering the meters for rock bottom prices, then sell the strips for extremely high rates.  You would do better to stop, compare brands, and spend a little more up front for a meter that will use strips that don’t cost an arm and a leg.


Purchasing something just because it happens to be on sale is not the most economically sound approach.  Only buy things that you will really use.  Even then, take the time to consider what you will have to pay in order to maintain or get regular use out of those purchases.  In the long run, you’ll save money and still be able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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