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Impulse Buying: How to Avoid Regrettable Financial Decisions in your 20s

August 10, 2023


Impulse buying can lead to regrettable financial decisions, especially for individuals in their 20s who are navigating the challenges of building a secure financial future. Understanding the psychology behind impulse buying and learning effective strategies to avoid it is crucial for young adults aiming to make wise financial choices.

In this article, we will explore the concept of impulse buying, its negative impact on financial stability, and practical methods to resist impulsive spending habits.

What is Impulse Buying?

Impulse buying, in its essence, refers to the act of making spontaneous purchases without prior planning or thoughtful consideration. It involves succumbing to immediate desires or emotions, often driven by the need for instant gratification. Unlike deliberate and calculated buying decisions, impulse buying lacks careful evaluation of the consequences and necessity of the purchase.

The Psychology Behind Impulse Buying

Let's delve deeper into the psychology behind impulse buying for individuals in their 20s, uncovering the underlying motivations and influences that drive this behaviour.

  • Emotional Triggers
    Impulse buying stems from intense emotions, like excitement and instant gratification. Young adults often crave excitement and reward while facing life's challenges. Impulsive purchases provide a momentary satisfaction, disregarding long-term financial stability.
  • Social Influence
    In the age of social media and constant connectivity, young adults in their 20s are exposed to a myriad of influences that can fuel impulsive buying. Peer pressure, influencer marketing, and the fear of missing out (FOMO) can contribute to impulsive spending habits.
  • Limited Financial Experience
    In their 20s, many individuals are still learning about personal finance and developing financial literacy. This limited financial experience, combined with the desire for independence and autonomy, can lead to impulsive spending decisions.

Negative Impact of Impulse Buying

Impulse buying may provide momentary satisfaction but has detrimental effects on long-term financial health. Let's explore how it impacts young individuals in their 20s.

  • Limited Savings
    For young adults striving to save money for future milestones like purchasing a car, saving for a down payment on a house, or building an emergency fund, impulse buying can severely hinder progress.
  • Damaged Credit Standing
    Impulse buying often leads to relying on credit cards or borrowing money to fund unplanned purchases. This behaviour can result in missed payments and a negative impact on credit scores.
  • Burdensome Debt
    The combination of impulsive spending and accumulating credit card balances can lead to a snowball effect of debt. Living paycheck to paycheck with mounting debt can create a cycle that's difficult to break free from.

How to Avoid Impulse Buying?

Here are some effective strategies to help you avoid impulsive purchases and achieve financial control.

  • Careful Budgeting
    Creating and sticking to a comprehensive budget is paramount in curbing impulse buying. By allocating funds for necessary expenses and planned purchases, you can avoid impulsive spending outside of your budget.
  • Allow for Some Spending
    Complete deprivation can be counterproductive. Allow yourself a small amount of money within your budget for discretionary spending. This gives you the freedom to make occasional unplanned purchases without derailing your financial goals.
  • Have a Shopping Plan
    Before heading to the store or browsing online, establish a clear shopping plan. Set a predetermined spending limit and make a list of the items you genuinely need.
  • Avoid Emotional Shopping
    Emotional shopping often leads to regrettable impulse buying decisions. Avoid shopping when you're feeling emotionally charged or stressed. Wait until you're in a calm and rational state of mind to make clear-headed purchasing choices.
  • Embrace Cash over Credit
    Shopping with cash is an effective way to limit impulsive spending. Leave your credit cards at home and bring only the necessary cash for planned purchases. This removes the temptation to make impulsive buys that you can't afford.
  • Reduce Credit Card Usage
    Credit cards can facilitate impulse buying due to their convenience and deferred payment options. Consider reducing your credit card usage or even keeping them out of sight. This helps break the habit of relying on credit for impulsive purchases.

Introducing HDFC Life Sanchay Plus

With HDFC Life Sanchay Plus, you can proactively safeguard your future and overcome impulsive spending habits. Here's what this insurance plan offers:

  • Comprehensive life cover to protect your family's financial well-being.
  • The Life Long Income Option, providing a steady retirement income.
  • The Long-Term Income Option, offering guaranteed income and premium returns.
  • Flexibility to choose guaranteed income for a fixed term or lifelong, with the option of a lump sum payout.
  • A return of total premiums paid at the end of the payout period.
  • Guaranteed benefit payouts to ensure the financial security of your nominee.


Understanding and addressing impulse buying is vital for young adults in their 20s to secure their financial futures. By recognizing the psychological triggers, implementing strategies for mindful spending, and developing smart financial habits, individuals can avoid regrettable financial decisions.

In this journey towards financial responsibility, HDFC Life Sanchay Plus serves as a valuable tool. With its comprehensive life cover, steady retirement income options, and guaranteed benefit payouts, it provides the necessary foundation for a secure future.

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ARN: ED/07/23/3384

Francis Rodrigues Francis Rodrigues

Francis Rodrigues has a decade long experience in the insurance sector, and as SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life, manages the online sales channel, as well as digital and performance marketing. He has had hands-on experience in setting up sales channels and functional teams from scratch over a career spanning 2 decades.

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Author Profile Written By:
Vishal Subharwal Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal heads the Strategy, Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital Business & Sustainability initiatives at HDFC Life. He is responsible for crafting and ensuring successful implementation of the overall organisation strategy.

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We at HDFC Life are committed to offer innovative products and services that enable individuals live a ‘Life of Pride’. For over two decades we have been providing life insurance plans - protection, pension, savings, investment, annuity and health.

HDFC Life Sanchay Plus (UIN: 101N134V18) is a non-participating, non-linked savings insurance plan. Life Insurance Coverage is available in this product.