Do I NEED this?: A Shopping Checklist for Impulse Buyers…like me.

Impulse Buyers Checklist

I love shopping.

Wait, no…

I love buying pretty things.     …and…   I do it impulsively.

There. I said it.

But who doesn’t?!

Well, my husband for one… He doesn’t have this calling, nor does he love my calling to this particular recreational (and often therapeutic) activity.

So, when we recently made our move across the country and into a home that “needed” a lot of things we both realized that I needed some perimeters – and fast! Together, we decided on a budget for furniture for the new home, and I created a spreadsheet to break down the numbers room by room, and keep track of our estimates and actual spending.

I realized pretty quickly, that a budget alone was not going to help me curb my appetite for pretty things. I’d been hungry for space for almost 10 years, and now I finally had space for ALL THE PRETTY THINGS! Let’s just say…I started buying bits and bobs for the new house months before we even left NYC! (I’m not proud…just being honest).

Without any suggestion from my husband *pats herself of the back* I created a flowchart of sorts. The idea was to ask myself a series of questions that would lead me to either buy the item I was ogling, or leave the store empty-handed. A third option involves rewarding myself (or perhaps I should call it self-medicating) with iced coffee instead.

Without further ado, I give you my very own

“DO I NEED THIS” Checklist:


  1. __ Was this on your list today?
    • ___ If NO, was this on a previous list? (Be honest!)
  2. __ Do we own a piece that serves this purpose already?
  3. __ Does this replace something we already own?
    • __ Was this other item free or very inexpensive?
    • __ Is this item broken or stained?
    • __ Can the item we own be repaired or fixed?
      • __ for less than the cost of this piece?
  4. __ Is this on our list of  “necessary” furniture?
  5. __ Is it on sale?
  6. __ Can you fit it in the car today?
    • If NOT:
      • __ Is there a delivery fee?
      • __ Will they hold the item?
  7. __Does it require further attention?
    • __ Paint
    • __ Upholstery
    • __ REPAIR
    • __ Does the costs above offset its present value?
  8. __ Have you left the store and taken time to think about it?
  9. __ Do you absolutely love it?
    • __ Does it give you butterflies?
    • __ Make you smile from ear to ear?
    • __ Will you be devastated if it’s not there when you get back?
  10. __ Will it feel too trendy in 2 years?
    •  If YES:
    • __Can you update it yourself?
    • __ Does it have classic lines?
    • __ Consider cost to reupholster/clean/paint
  11. __ Can you envision exactly where it would go in our home?
    • __ Bonus points for more than 1 location
  12. __ Have you checked
    • __ dimensions
    • __ paint swatches
    • __ online reviews (if available)
  13. __ Are you buying this to make yourself feel happy?
    • Go get some instead!


  1. __ Does this serve a purpose in our home?
    • __ Storage
      • __ What would it hold? _________, __________
    • __ Collect Dust/Require cleaning?
    • __ Look pretty/Make you smile
    • __ Memory evoking treasure
    • __ Actual function: ______________, ______________, ______________
  2. __ Does something else you own serve a similar purpose?
  3. __ Do you know EXACTLY where it would go?
    • __ Could it go in more than 2 rooms?
  4. __ Is there space to store this item? (if Seasonal/not on display)
  5. __ How many months of the year is this useful?
    • (3+ is best)
  6. __ How often would you use this item?
    • __ Daily
    • __ Weekly
    • __ Monthly
    • __ Annually
    • __ Never, it just sits there.
  7. __ Have we spoken about wanting something like this?
  8. __ Did you pin a photo of something like this?
    • that your husband also admired? (let’s call this pseudo “Pre-approval”)
  9. __ Do we BOTH get pleasure/use out of this item?
  10. __ Will this item feel trendy in 2 years or less?
  11. __ Is it on sale?
  12. __ Is it under 10 dollars? under 20?
    • __ Could you find something like it for less?
    • __ Could you MAKE something like it for less?
  13. __ Are you buying this to make yourself feel happy?
    • Go buy COFFEE instead!!!!

So, what do you think? Will it work for you? So far I haven’t actually needed to bring a hard copy into the store with me – but I should probably keep one in my purse for emergencies. In case you’d also like a hard copy, click the link below for a printable PDF.

Do I Need This?

As you can see, there isn’t ever a concrete answer at the end of the list. It just helps me put everything into perspective and use more logic than emotion to decide whether my purchase is necessary or not.

Do you have a mental checklist that you use to keep yourself from buying things? Does anyone have one for clothing? – because I definitely need to create one of those soon too!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s