On Impulse

Posted: September 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thank you for the feedback in the anonymous 3 Question FFF Survey I posted. It has really been eye-opening and helpful. I will leave the survey open for responses through tomorrow and would still love for you to respond if you can.

Okay…now we shall move on from all the blogging talk. Let’s talk impulse shopping!

I am a planner. Plan plan plan. We budget like crazy in this household. I meal plan. I love to-do lists and knowing what to expect in my days. Yet, impulse buys still get to me. Especially when it comes to food!

Grocery shopping budget = very important for me. Otherwise, I could easily browse the aisles of my favorite Kroger or Trader Joes and load up the cart with a bunch of things not really needed. However, if I find something that catches my eye and it’s on sale?


I take it as an omen that it must go in the cart. Wouldn’t you?

When at the store, I came across this spinach salad on manager’s special. With our recent snap back to warmer temperatures, nothing sounded better than a salad for lunch. Plus, it had all of my favorite salad components – fruit, cheese, and nuts plus balsamic dressing.


The spinach ended up being a little wilty from reaching it’s sell-by date, so I subbed out some of the less than stellar greens with ones we had on hand. Then I loaded up the rest of the salad with the spicy pecans, feta, dried apricots and cranberries, and dressing.

The salad tasted fantastic. I loved the touch of spice from the pecans. That was my first time having spiced pecans in a salad of that nature, but I loved it. What I didn’t love? The size. Only half a plate? Nuh-uh. Not happening. So I had a totally random peanut butter and banana on the side.


Not the best flavor combos, but whatever. I had a happy lunch. Thank you, impulses!

I find it interesting because for as much of a planner as I am, a lot of my final decisions are pretty impulsive. I will think things over, analyze pros-cons lists, and pray about particular decisions but when it comes down to it, many times my choices feel like game time decisions.

Deciding to start a family? One month I just knew and quite suddenly threw my pills out. Don’t worry – Peter was on board!

Deciding to finally enter a fitness competition? Did a Google search one morning and signed up immediately after.

Deciding to get certified in personal training? Planned in a car ride home from Peter’s parents house one afternoon.

Facilitating an adult study group at church? Said I would take it over before I knew the words were coming out of my mouth.

The list could go on and on…but I won’t bore you. I guess what I am trying to say is that I can only plan so much, then it gets to the point of overanalyzing things. Sometimes going on impulse can be a good thing because it’s our gut, our instincts, our conscience speaking. Sometimes I also believe it’s allowing God to do the guiding and forcing me to simply trust the path and stop trying to have the control. Whatever it is, it’s brought good to my life on the whole. Just like some other impulses that can happen…


Ahem. No clue where that came from. Winking smile 

  • On a scale of 1 (give me time to consider my answer) to 10 (spontaneous to the max) how impulsive are you in your decision making?
  • What was your last impulse buy?

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38 Comments to “On Impulse”
  1. I am a HUGE planner like you, but when it comes to big life decisions (i.e. when i decided to go for my Ph.D.), I just do them on a whim. It should probably be the reverse, don’t you think?!

  2. Definitely right there with ya on the planning. But thats why special impulse things are more fun, because they don’t happen often. Even if its something as little as Starbucks, never have to over think that one 😉

  3. i’m pretty impulsive on big decisions too. i think about things a lot, but then when it comes time to decide, i pretty much instantly know what i’m going to do…if that makes sense. 🙂

  4. I am a big impulse person…except when it comes to grocery shopping and meals, then I am a planner! I’d say probably about a 6 or a 7.
    Last impulse buy was gnocchi! Bought it at the grocery store on Sunday and I’m eating it tonight!

    Love PB + banana sandwiches. So easy and yummy.

  5. I definitely spend way too much time analyzing and making pros and cons, and gathering a ton of opinions from others, and background research and then in the end I just make a decision. The prime example of this is at a restaurant: I get the menu, I read it all, I think about what I want, I ask everyone else at the table what they are getting, I pick about 3 things to choose from, then the server comes back, I ask to order last, and right when they ask me what I want I pick something off the menu that sometimes wasn’t even in my top 3. Oh well, life has worked out for me thus far by these plans.

  6. Let’s just say you should probably teach me how to budget! I am terrible at it!

  7. I’m impulsive. I do think through the big things before making a decision, but not with small stuff. I don’t work with a budget so I often get things I hadn’t planned for, especially for my stepson.

    My last impulse buy was a running outfit to wear for Sunday’s half marathon. I meant to buy two sports bras, but came out with that outfit instead. Oops!

  8. Well, I’m definitely a planner, probably a 1 on that scale with how much I think about future things. But, I’m NOT a worrier at all. Almost nothing gets me worked up.

  9. Heather says:

    I’m SO impulsive which is bad sometimes because then I flip flop and tend to not commit.

    My fiancee is an uber-planner though. He plans and re-plans and obsesses. It drives me nuts but in the end I’m grateful when things go smoothly

    I love the banana sandwiches… great idea

    • Tina says:

      Isn’t it funny how a lot of time spouses are the opposite of each other? I’m a planner and Peter is much more laid back. I guess we can balance each other out that way.

  10. It’s funny, my spontaneity goes up as the price of something goes up. I will deliberate forever on small purchases but when it’s something big (and I mean a couple hundred $ here, not thousands or anything) I’ll usually just decide to randomly buy it. I sound like a financial wreck but somehow I’m not! haha

  11. Oh man, I’m super impulsive, but then VERY indecisive at the same time. It all depends on my mood I think. I always second guess my decisions (and I really wish I wouldn’t). I definitely go through stages where I’ll impulse buy things and then regret it later. Oops.

  12. I am a total impulse buyer!! One time I bought the entire series of Sex and the City ($200) on a whim. It was worth the money and I’ve watched the series multiple times but I would say that’s been my largest impulse buy to date.

    (By the way- I love the idea of the survey!)

  13. Yeah for impulse buys! Haha I am definetly one of those 🙂

  14. I’m like you. I’ll over-analyze and obsess and then suddenly make a snap decision. So impulsive when it comes down to it!

  15. Rebecca says:

    I’m probably like a 3 on that scale. I like to know what’s happening when, but I’m *kind of* flexible. Learning to be more flexible.
    My last impulse-buy was possibly tonight. I mean, I was hungry, and could’ve waited until I got back to the apartment to eat, but I decided to buy a smoothie and a bar. Yum! Although I should stay away from the peach flavors at the campus coffee shop…

  16. Peanut butter cookie larabars at kroger. 74 cents on clearance was hard to resist! I always debate buying those salad kits!

    • Tina says:

      It was good for an easy meal. I don’t know how much they normally are though. I wouldn’t say it’s worth more than the $2 I paid for it.

  17. Amy Lauren says:

    I would have to be a 2 or 3. I’m sooo not spotaneous (but ironically, I didn’t take long to think about that answer). I like to know things so I can plan for them, I’m an organizer like that. I always heard to ask for forgiveness not permission, and I try to be more spontaneous but I dunno, I guess I just like order and organization.. and I know I sound like a super boring person now, I’m really not, haha. Just a control freak.

    That salad does look good. I’d buy it, not really an impulse buy, it’s a pretty healthy food and nothing wrong with trying a new salad!

  18. we are the saaaame person. I can plan plan plan, but sometimes I”m just a bit spontaneous. Once I decide something, I just do it!

  19. Laura @Joyful Shimmy says:

    I’ too make decisions out of impulse at times. But here is e thing I check in with my intuition and my higher self. If it feels right I go for it. Without a doubt this has worked for me.

  20. I’d say I’m a pretty even mix of spontaneous and a planner– something I REALLY plan and think about for a long time…and then other things I’ll be really impulsive about.

  21. I’m like a 7 at the grocery store–I make a list but love finding new/healthier/on-sale items to purchase instead–but like 2 when I shop for other things–I never plan and just go with what I like (good or bad : )

  22. That salad looks awesome, and the price is even better! I’m definitely an impulse buyer, but I’m trying to budget much more.

  23. Danielle says:

    I’m a big planner and really detailed with my lists and things like that. But, if I got to the grocery store hungry…..I get way too impulsive. Everything looks delicious and must be brought home so I can taste.

  24. Khushboo says:

    I’m SUCH a planner but isn’t it ironic that sometimes impulse decisions end up being the best kind!!

  25. I am such a planner too- trying to make more impulse decisions though!! I love being spontaneous- it often surprises you with some new experience/thought/discovery!

  26. MizFit says:

    if I were rich ID SOOO BE IMPULSIVE 🙂
    I add to cart impulsively —then take out 🙂

    • Tina says:

      I do that too! I will add things and then the thoughts of money going out of my bank account gets the best of me and have to circle around and put it back. Motherhood definitely increased that behavior!

  27. Mac says:

    I think I’m like a 3.5 on the spontaneous buying scale. The only time I really get spontaneous in buying is when I go to the grocery store, sometimes I see things I would like to try but did not plan on buying, but I toss it in the cart anyhow.

  28. Elisbeth says:

    I’ve been actively trying to stop being so spontaneous…I’m kind of like a recovering 8 or a 9 at the moment. I sign up for races, book vacations, spur-of-the-moment road trips–at the drop of a hat. I’m like that with online shopping as well.

    With the addition of (growing) baby #1, I’ve decided I need to be much less crazy. I’ll be cutting my hours at work back somewhat for at least the first year after the baby arrives, so we need to become accustomed to living on a slightly smaller income!

    • Tina says:

      I used to be MUCH more of an impulse shopper before having kids. Definitely smarter to start learning those habits sooner rather than later. 🙂

  29. AmandaCG says:

    I am a HUGE planner. Probably a 10. I have routine that I stick to everyday and if it gets thrown off I feel all wonky….my mojo gets out of whack. 🙂 I have a hard time buying even the small things like a set of head bands because I am afraid I will find better, cuter, cheaper ones somewhere else! But I am WITH you on the impulse buys like your salad. Because I look for deals I know one when I see one. Starbucks? Oh forget it….I don’t need to even think about that one! I can’t really remember my last impulse buy, I am sure it was something little from the $ section of Target! Haha! All that being said, even though I don’t apologize for being so structured, I believe God made me this way for a reason and I am happiest when I have order, I AM working on trying not to over analyze to the point where I don’t make a decision. Like the dang headbands! Your salad is my favorite salad!!!!

  30. Depends on the decision. I will plan but I’m not one to delay a decision on the possilibity of a future better option. My mom took six months to decide on a toliet paper holder for her guest bathroom…crazy!!!! I don’t like loose ends and indecisiveness.

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