Is your impulse buy really worth the money? Find out using this test first blog graphic

Let’s talk about your next impulse buy! We’ve spoken before about distinguishing between impulse purchases and opportunistic purchases. We’ve also covered the magic of using a Pocket Shopping List to avoid impulse buys. And we’ve covered redefining what makes a shopping trip successful in the first place.

Today I want to share a simple test for helping you decide if your next impulse buy is really worth buying. 

All you need is a little bit of information and a little bit of introspection – that’s it! You can even do this while waiting to checkout. 

Is your impulse buy really worth the money? Find out using this test first.

The benefits of intentional shopping

But first, a (very) brief interlude about the benefits of intentional shopping. 

The key to turning impulse shopping into opportunistic shopping is to add intention. (This is why the Pocket Shopping List is such a wonderful tool.) 

With all these benefits in mind, let’s get to the test. 

Use this to test your impulse buy

I call this test The F.U.L.L. Price Test, because we’re going to be calculating the full price plus the potential return of your impulse buy. 

Four elements make up an impulse purchase’s complete price, and they come with this handy dandy acronym. 

  • F stands for finances. This is all of the numbers involved in your impulse buy – from the price tag to shipping to returns to alterations to maintenance and more. 
  • U stands for under the surface. These are the costs that don’t come with easy numbers attached – like feelings, emotions, vibes, etc. 
  • The first L stands for loving it. This is the ideal return outcome of your purchase – how much will this purchase give you if you end up loving it and wearing it for years to come?
  • The second L stands for (not) loving it. This is the less than ideal return outcome of your purchase – how much will this purchase take away if you end up not loving it and having to get rid of it?

In short: calculate the F.U.L.L Price of your next impulse purchase to see if it’s worth it to you. 

F stands for finances. 

Impulse buys cost something – even when it feels like they’re practically free. 

The first step in the F.U.L.L. Price Test is to do a back of the napkin calculation of all of the numbers involved in your impulse buy. Be sure to include the price tag, shipping, returns, alterations, care and maintenance, and anything else that comes with a price tag attached. 

The full monetary price includes: 

  • The price of the item without any discounts or sales
  • Shipping
  • Returns fees
  • Interest (if you’re financing the purchase)
  • Alterations
  • Care and maintenance 
  • Disposal (how will you get rid of this piece once you’re done wearing it?)
  • Opportunity costs (if you purchase this item, what are you not doing instead?) 

Ask yourself: knowing all of this if I could simply and easily buy this, would I?

You may have your answer right now, and be able to make a clear decision without going through the rest of the steps. But If you’re still undecided, keep going. 

U stands for Under the Surface. 

“Under the surface” means all of the things that don’t come with easy numbers attached – like feelings, emotions, vibes, etc. 

Because we don’t just pay for our clothes with money. We also pay for the items in our closets in time, effort, emotional connection, space, possibility, and many more less-tangible things. 

Ask yourself:

  • What positives would this purchase add to my life?
  • What unpleasantness would this purchase add to my life?
  • What would this remove from my life?

There aren’t right or wrong answers to these questions. And your answers will probably change throughout your life and your style evolution. When you’re running the F.U.L.L Price Test, just answer these questions as fully and honestly as you can about the impulse buy that’s right in front of you.

The first L stands for love it. 

While all the steps in the F.U.L.L. Price Test can work with any type of impulse purchase. You and I are here to talk about clothing! So for the next two steps, we’ll be using clothing specific questions and examples. 

“Loving it” means the ideal return outcome of your purchase – how much will this purchase give you if you end up loving it and wearing it for years to come?

Think about the ideal outcome for this impulse purchase, and ask yourself…

The second L stands for (not) loving it. 

This is the less than ideal return outcome of your purchase – how much will this purchase take away if you end up not loving it and having to get rid of it?

Just because we want something to work out doesn’t mean it always does. So when you’re considering an impulse buy, don’t just consider the best outcome. It’s also important to consider the less than ideal fate of this impulse buy. 

Ask yourself… 

  • What will I do if this purchase doesn’t work with anything already in my closet?
  • How will I dispose of this if I decide it doesn’t belong in my closet? 
  • How would I need to change this purchase to make it work in my wardrobe? 
  • How will I feel adding this to my wardrobe inventory? 

It may not be a ton of fun to consider your purchase not working out, but it is an important step in differentiating between impulse buys and opportunistic purchases. 

This only takes a couple of minutes to test your next impulse buy but can save you tons

Taking a couple of minutes to think through the F.U.L.L. price of a new piece of clothing can save you tons in the long run. It can save you money (obviously) but also time, headache, heartache, and clutter. 

Don’t forget to download and keep your Pocket Shopping List handy to help you take advantage of shopping opportunities. 

And if you want to keep reading about fashion & finance (or just clothes, money & shopping) I have a whole category of posts right here.