Do you find yourself snagging last-minute buys, especially at the checkout stand - like candy, mini-flashlights, or DVDs - then wondering later why on earth you bought them? You’re not alone. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 2-out-of-3 people regularly kick themselves for spur-of-the-moment purchases.

What do people most regret buying? Clothes and shoes. Women are more likely than men to splurge on those. But guess what? When you factor in categories like gadgets and food, men spend 50% more than women on unplanned purchases. So, here are three ways to protect your pocketbook:

  • Avoid your triggers. Nearly half of shoppers say that special offers and sales make them much more likely to spend. And another 10% say they shop when they’re stressed, or hit the mall to celebrate a windfall, like a bonus or tax refund. The fix? Use a shopping list, and stick with it! It may sound simple – but it’s incredibly effective.

  • Stop browsing! Studies show that walking every aisle in the grocery store adds an average of 10% to your total bill. Why? Because you’re bound to find something that catches your eye. And be especially careful when you shop online. Because some experts say that impulse buys account for 40% of internet sales. It’s just too easy to click “buy” – especially if the site already has your credit card info. It’s practically painless!

  • Don’t touch anything! Research shows that we form an emotional connection with products that we touch – whether it’s a silky scarf, or a coffee mug. And we actually start to consider them “ours” within 30 seconds! That, of course, makes us more likely to buy them. Which is why salespeople encourage us to handle the merchandise, and try everything on.