Control Thy Impulse

Whether you are a woman or a man, we love to buy things abroad. Who doesn’t if we have few bills to spare, right?

I wanna shop!!

Oh. Ok. I only have $2 left in my wallet.


While we Filipinos have to always buy pasalubong for our family and friends and, of course, buy things for ourselves, we also need to remember that spending our Peso in a more developed country takes the risk of ripping our savings off.

How can we buy pasalubong but not go nuts afterwards because of impulse buying?

May I share what I always do:

  • List all the things I intend to buy before the travel.  This will make me focus while shopping.

One good way to loosen up my budget a little is to have a collection. You can collect t-shirts, keychains, mugs, coasters or whatever. Thing is, you get to have something from every place you visited and then the more they get, the more you feel fulfilled of having the opportunity to travel. I collect bookmark. It also has become the default pasalubong for me from friends and family. 

  • Put specific amount beside each item. When I have the target amount, I would readily know if I already went beyond my budget.
  • Filter out the list with things I know will be bulky in my luggage.

Spare my wallet from unplanned expenses.

  • Always bring the list with me while travelling.

I don’t leave it in the hostel and pretend that I have them in memory because once I get out, I will most likely forget what I listed and, at times, that I even wrote a list. 

  • If I found the item on my list, I try to think twice first and then go out from the store. Yes. You read it right. Out from the store.

In any country, souvenir shops are usually 3x or more pricey than those in the local market. I once bought a 300baht bracelet in a souvenir shop and found the same exact bracelet in the local market but for 120baht. How’s that for being an impulsive buyer?

General rule  is wait for some time for yourself to identify if the item is a need or a want. Another is to check at other shops if they have cheaper price or better alternative for the same item.

  • Give time to think if having the item will make me a happier and better traveller. And on the contrary, I also try justifying why I should not buy it.

Because if it is still on my nerves after walking far enough from the store, maybe (just maybe, ok?) I have to buy it.

  • If I am going to buy it, I bargain for a good deal!

I always try to bargain for the target amount I have written on my list. But if the store is willing, I prefer to bargain cheaper than the target amount. 

But, here is the catch: Do not sacrifice the quality. I personally believe that having a good quality is way cheaper than anything else. And most of the time, when travelling, quality means we also support the local people who produced them.

  • Slash out that item in my list. Check it. Erase it. Whatever. Just to make sure I don’t buy double of the same item.
  • Before I go to sleep, I list everything I shed out the entire day.

An expense template or the budget list I made before the travel is always helpful. I check if I already bought everything I intend to buy or if there is a need to make some changes. Likewise, I will know if I can spare the savings I got on a different activity. 

  • Lastly, after I travel, I gauge my  expenditures if I need to improve further on this travel budget skill.

I hope this will help you in any possible way!=)

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