I've never been into brick-and-mortar shopping. I don't even much like going to movie theatres in malls. I am, however, a big fan of online shopping. It's just so easy and convenient!
In the past few years, I've learned how to keep the ease and convenience while still remaining debt-free.
Amazon Prime is a priority for me, and I don't mind paying the annual fee (I budget $9/mo to cover it). I've decided that I will let my Costco membership expire next year, and I use Amazon Subscribe & Save in place of wandering that huge, always-crowded warehouse! And, of course, I budget for that.
Still, there are times when retail therapy sounds nice, so I may browse Amazon, but instead of adding items to my cart, I add them to my wish list. When I get my monthly cash back from my credit card, I can use that to buy something on my wish list.
Whenever I peruse my wish list, I delete those items that I don't even remember why I wanted them! If something costs more than what I have available in rewards, then I have to check the budget to see if there's enough in the relevant category to cover the difference. If not? Not buying that item this month! Things on my Wish List range from $10- hundreds so there's usually something on there that meets my rules.
If I'm on a site other than Amazon (which does happen from time to time), I may add the item to my shopping cart, but then I have to check the budget. Sometimes, I'll move things around to make it work, but most of the time, I look ahead to next month and x out of that tab with a mental note to come back on the 1st (and sometimes I do, sometimes I don't).
Just this weekend, I learned about a new product I really wanted to try that wasn't available on Amazon and frankly, it was overpriced. I added it to the Cart anyway, but then deleted it when I saw it would take 6-8 weeks to ship and really, what's the point of an impulse buy if I won't have it in 2 days? If I'm still thinking about it next month, I'll figure out a way to add it to the budget.
What I find fascinating is that clicking that "Add to Cart" or "Add to Wish List" generally satisfies that impulse for me. I don't actually have to pull out my credit card or click "complete Purchase" to feel complete. This little mental game has been effective for me almost every time. (I honestly can't think of a time where it hasn't been, but that may also be a mental trick!)
While I recommend waiting at least 24 hours (preferably 30 days) before making an impulse buy, at the very least, check your budget (or your balance) first. You will enjoy it so much more if you know you can afford it!