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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Before shopping, make a list and stick to it.
  • A prepaid debit card can help you stick to a budget.
  • Don’t use shopping as “therapy.”

Time to Read

2 minutes

Saving for retirement shouldn’t be difficult. But some spending habits, like impulse buying, can complicate your future finances with credit card debt. Want to avoid impulse spending? Follow these simple steps. 

  1. Plan ahead. Feeling unsure about purchases can fuel impulse shopping. At the grocery store, avoid impulse buys at checkout by planning meals ahead, making a shopping list and sticking to it. 
  2. Limit how you purchase. Using cash can seem “guilt-free” since you don’t see deductions from your bank account. Instead, use a prepaid debit card like Navy Federal Credit Union’s GO Prepaid card loaded with your weekly budget. You’ll see how much money you’re spending and where, unlike with cash.
  3. Avoid making shopping a hobby. Many use shopping as “retail therapy”—a stress reliever or way to relax, particularly since the pandemic. Instead, find therapy in other activities, such as reading or walking. And, buy in-person to avoid the temptation of social media ads and online shopping.
  4. Check your emotions. Emotions can influence shopping behaviors. You shouldn’t grocery shop while hungry. Hunger can trigger your need for instant satisfaction, leading to impulse purchases. Bring a snack to prevent feeling the hunger rush. And, when you’re feeling down, don’t counteract those feelings with shopping. Only shop with a positive attitude—shopping should be a reward, not a solution! 
  5. Calculate the personal cost. Unsure about a purchase? Figure out how long it would take you to earn the money you’re considering spending. Divide the cost of the item by your hourly wage. For instance, if you’re thinking about splurging on a $60 sweater, but earn $15 per hour, you’d need to work 4 hours to pay for the sweater. 

Your Budgeting Tool

Control spending with the reloadable GO Prepaid card.

  • Load money onto the GO Prepaid card with the mobile app* or online.
  • Shop online or in stores—anywhere Visa® Debit Cards are accepted.
  • Track purchases, check the account balance and reload the card online or with our mobile app.
  • Authorize other Navy Federal members to add money to the card.

Learn more

Key Takeaways Key Takeaways


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This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.