Shops will lure you with impulse buys over Christmas: this is cinnamon-scented hand wash, temptingly set out in my supermarket last November. If you need hand wash, if it’s no more expensive than your usual product and if you don’t mind smelling of cinnamon, then splash out. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your money and you’re one step closer to blowing your budget.
You already have the tools you need to avoid impulse buys:
- Your shopping list will tell you what you are looking for today: don’t stray from it by buying something that you weren’t looking for
- Your budget will tell you whether you can afford the item: if you haven’t allocated any money for it then, if you buy it, you can only stay on budget by spending less on something else
When I dropped my book club friend Sharon home tonight, there was an array of cat art on her dining room table – mostly pen and ink sketches which were whimsical and engaging without being twee, but there were also two little pottery cats that were frozen poetry and a cushion cover embroidered with a kitten that was so real you expected it to miaou. She said she was getting her latest work ready for a gallery in Olinda so I promised to come to the opening. I may not be a cat lover but this was mighty fine art.
 My cousin Peter’s wife has lemon-scented hand wash, coconut shampoo and oatmeal soap: she says smelling of anything edible is better than smelling of anything inedible and she didn’t like Peter’s odour when he had been working in his shed, even before he tried to create methane from cow manure.
 False Bargain #2.
 It’s technically possible that you do have peppermint-scented handwash in a snowman-shaped bottle on your shopping list, but I’m betting you don’t.
 My friend Lisa solves this by having a budget category called “impulse buys”, but this is not what financial wizards recommend.
 But again I stress that this doesn’t make me a cat hater.