Tell Us About Your Impulse Buys, This Is A Safe Space

Another week, another peek behind the scenes at Autostraddle dot com. It’s actually pretty easy to get the the AS Slack lighting up with notifications — I’m sure you’ll recall our hours long pizza conversation, or the time we all realized that yes, we might actually add our hand sizes to our Tinder bios, just in case!

Well, this week we got to gabbing about our tendency to impulse buy and…let’s just say none of us should be allowed to enter a CVS without an adult chaperone.

Christina Tucker: I like impulse buyzzzzz
Natalie: same, Christina.
Dani Janae: Impulse buys is good because I have a million
Natalie: what was your worst?
Christina: Oh gosh. I buy a lot of makeup/skincare stuff
Like looking at my Sephora history would probably give me hives
Dani: Probably a purple faux fur cropped jacket that didn’t fit my massive arms
Valerie: I keep impulse buying fanart even though i’m out of wall space. and i’m addicted to three-wick candles.
Christina: I went through a phase where I bought a bunch of prints and then was like WAIT now I have to frame these?? JK under my bed they go
Did I bring them with me when I moved? Who can say
Valerie: i framed a ton of mine and hung them all up and half of them have fallen
Dani: Omg the money I’ve spent on candles
Christina: candles will NOT fundamentally change the person I am? and yet every time I buy one I am SURE it it will
Valerie: and then i have a whole pile of prints from this one artist and i keep auto-purchasing her new stuff because i love it so much but i haven’t hung ANY of it up yet! just a huge pile of prints by one artist.
yeah candles have yet to fill the emptiness inside but i’m not a quitter
Dani: I’ll never quit
I want my home and my general aura to smell like amber at all times
Christina: Oh perfume is another one for me, gimme alll the smellz
Valerie: i don’t usually do perfume but i did impulse buy a “roll-on scent” because it was called Willow Rosenberg
Natalie: wow. forever committed to the brand, valerie. well done.
Valerie: :curtsy:
Dani: I get so many perfume ads, one called dirty fig which is my brand
Christina: lmao I absolutely have a sample of that somewhere
Jehan: anytime I take a turn in CVS down the “as seen on TV” aisle it’s a wrap
Probably the worst impulse buy was a package of “miracle” bras SPECIFICALLY for big boobs and that thing could hold exactly one breast
Vanessa: I impulse buy sheet masks every time I go to CVS :( As long as they say “ultra hydrating”
Christina: Okay but whomst among us doesn’t
Vanessa: Boom, into my basket they go
Jehan: i absolutely get sheet masks every trip
Christina: are you telling me people just…go to CVS and leave with exactly what they said they were gonna get? because that seems fake as hell
Vanessa: Mmmm seems fake!!!
Jehan: i just made a pact with myself to actually use them
because purchasing and using are two separate hobbies
Vanessa: Omg Jehan every time! I’m like “Bitch you have 4 unused ones at home!”
It’s like an activity that is supposed to be relaxing and nice and I somehow end up bullying myself about skincare
Dani: Oooo add nail polish to my list because the cvs cashier always flirts with me
Christina: Oh let’s not bring NAIL polish into it, that seems UNFAIR to me
Shelli Nicole: bringing in nail polish and skincare seems completely unfair — not that i keep purchasing the same shade of red from different brands for no reason
Meg: me and my 9 different black eyeliners are feeling very attacked by this thread
i can’t even look at my sheet mask collection

Well, what about y’all? Please fill this comment thread with all the stuff you buy when you cannot resist the urge to shop. If you link them… well, clearly none of us are strong enough to resist.

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Christina Tucker

Christina Tucker is writer and podcaster living in Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter or Instagram!

Christina has written 286 articles for us.


  1. Ok so my nurse just gave me a 3 wick candle and I’m pleased

    Also, I have a problem buying musical gear. Guitars? Stay away. Effect pedals? oh no. Last year I bought my ex a DW matte black 5 piece shell pack when we “just needed to get some new sticks”.

    Judge me.

    • And I guess if I’m just confessing my sins to the void I have a lot more light bulbs than are strictly necessary

  2. Had to google CVS and 3 wick candle, but NOT “ultra hydrating” sheet mask – if I see one I buy one.

  3. Thos year reminded me why I so rarely do Christmas shopping for friends.

    Once I give myself permission to shop, I am now in a constant negotiation between me and me about what I can buy. I bought 20 books in two weeks (including many at the rec of Autostraddle), four Tubman stamps (WHY. I NEED ONLY ONE), and some shirts from someone I’m pretty sure is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat.

    Last time I did real Christmas shopping was for my company sponsoring a kid a local elementary school. The kid liked Pokemon and I have loved Pokemon for years. So with no guidance, of course I bought super-hoopy-doo card set, a Charizard poncho, and a Pikachu plush with the same poncho–the entire time negotiating with myself about what is actually appropriate.

    I have already told my partner when we have kids that if the kids like Pokemon, I *MUST* be given a budget or our children will be spoiled rotten.

    (Meanwhile, I will debate with myself about buying things for me because I measure all my clothes in years)

  4. For some reason I’m rather good at avoiding impulse buys…except for used books. Yesterday I just bought two from a grad student who was getting rid of them. How many unread books do I own? I don’t even know!

    • That’s not an impulse buy, that’s just what you do. You buy books. I had over 3,000 paperbacks before I moved across the country. WE’RE ALLOWED TO DO THIS

    • If it’s under 5 dollars, I buy it, because I have had so much regret about used books I have left behind (you can get a lot of them online, but you won’t get a single book in good condition for less than that.)

    • I’m exactly the same way – books and stationery are my two major vices. To the point where I have two huge bookcases completely packed, with some shelves doubled up. (I just moved from the Midwest back to the East Coast and had to mail several massive boxes of books – thank g-d for USPS Media Mail!)

    • Yeesss books books books!

      Not even second hand, if I see things online at major retailers of ill-repute I still feel like I need to buy anything that looks interesting before I forget about it

  5. Physically, my impulse buys are always candy. That’s why I dread the checkout line. They’re all laid out there for my salivate over: Skittles, Starburst, Twix.

    But I also have little self-control for STEAM sales. I’ve gotten a lot better, but the Winter Sale is coming up.

  6. As someone who sews and knits, I have made many, many impulse buys of fabric and yarn. Fabric with a bicycle print on it is a must have. You never know how long it’ll be available!

  7. A 2 in 1 jigsaw puzzle with one side with your birthstones and the other side being the zodiac with a very busy picture. Attempted it twice, got a headache both times and gave up but I will finish or else it’d be a waste of $10. wish me luck

    • Ooh I have this puzzle! The gemstone side took a few days/sessions to finish (but it was so pretty when done). We have not even attempted the very-intimidating constellation side. 😬 Good luck!

      • That’s so crazy because the constellation side is easier for me because the dates make it easier to follow along and have a nice border. The gemstone side is what got me. Good luck with yours!!

  8. I have bought 2 literary journals on impulse, one recently and another a few months ago. The one from a few months ago has totally not been read at all.

    Sometimes when I have edibles it has put me in a mood to shop online, but the same mood also has my mind moving so quickly from one thing to another that mostly I end up forgetting to actually place any orders, THANK GOD. I mean except that one time that I was obsessed with bananas and ended up with several banana flavored/related things from Target.

  9. I pass by a local thrift store on the way home who donate their proceeds towards a local HIV aid organization.

    I buy… SO MUCH from there impulsively.

    Flannel. Button downs. Kitchen products. Pants. You name it.

  10. Fabric. “Oh, I could make a shirt out of this! Oh, this will turn into a nice dress for my partner!”

    UH HUH

    • Fabric, yarn, all of the craft supplies.

      Same here. This last year I’ve been doing really good in stash busting projects!

  11. For the last couple years my New Year’s Resolutions have revolved around curbing my impulse purchases – first it was a yarn restriction (which let me get through a huge chunk of my stash!) then a pen/stationery restriction (…during which I still managed to buy some very nice Pilot fountain pens) and this year was a makeup restriction – no more than one makeup purchase per month. Next year it’s probably going to have to be books because I’m moving again during the summer and am…not looking forward to packing up my ENTIRE MASSIVE DRAGON HOARD OF BOOKS. At the very least I might have to adopt a one-in one-out policy where for every book I buy I donate an old one to the library.
    (Thriftbooks and Indiebound are my worst enablers…)

  12. Winter clothes. Not summer clothes because I hate shopping for summer as I try to be as naked as possible, but I will impulse buy the hell out of (another) pair of black booties; give me all the faux fur coats. Don’t be a tunic sweater. The plus side is, I never run out of very warm clothes to wear. The downside is that I live in Texas?

    The high today is 70.

  13. I don’t impulse buy, but I do impulse pick up books from the free book exchanges and like others above my weakness is anyone offering me fabric…sure I’ll make something out of that!! Honestly. Someday. Siiiigh.

    I do make things, it’s just the input vs output doesn’t match up…

    • Omg if something is free, I will take it, I just cannot resist. I may not need a second hand bookshelf/tent/ill fitting clothes now what if I need them in the future???

  14. As a rule, windbreakers that you can stuff into a pouch the size of your fist or a thimble or whatever.

    • Honestly, can you fold those things back up? Coz I swear I fold them into a bigger space than they actually take up

  15. Hundreds of dollars worth of Lego sets to add to my Lego City. They were on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some of them retiring. I regret I didn’t spend more because Lego Ninjago City Docks was $100 off and now it is retired. eBay has it for jacked up prices currently. Sad 😞

    • Am I the only one who buys action figures? I was clean for a couple of years from the regular ones, now I gave in and bought a funko pop in a sale, — and here we go again–

      • I paint those little RPG miniatures, so yes if those count. There might be dozens of those in various stages of completion on my work desk, and an embarrassing number of them still on the sprue. Goddess help us all.

  16. At first I was like “nah, not me” then I looked at the pile of unread books on my nightstand table and went “oh”

  17. The last thing I bought on impulse was before Remi child of Kaelynn and Waffle was born.
    Trashy looking black heels that I can’t really wear out since certain problems manifested not long after.

    The candy mold doesn’t count as an impulse buy because I needed it and do use.

  18. My impulse buy to use to be lipsticks in shades I liked, but I stopped doing that. I think these days my impulse buys are snacks, like chocolate birthday cake cookie, donuts, & granola bars. Thankfully, I went to the doctor over a month ago & everything, for the most part, came back fine. Is there such a thing as a researched impulse buy? Because I maybe have done that the other week.

    Oh, last month my best friend posted on FB would someone buy a vegan shepherds pie & describe the food to her. So, on impulse, because she’s my people, & the food looked good, I went to the restaurant to order it. Unfortunately, it was not available that day as they just started making it for the season. I was told to come back on Tuesday, which I did for lunch. It was worth it as the food was really good. I also sent multiple pics to my friend of the meal & texted her how the food taste like she asked(since she wasn’t answering her phone).

    • I don’t count food as an impulse by because I believe when you want a food you probably need in some way, but I believe one can impulsively be a restaurant customer.

      • Interesting, I kind of have to disagree. Like supermarkets & drug stores have candy & gum near the register to get people to impulse buy them. Also, the first time I went to the place it was right after I had brunch. I would like to think it was done on impulse for a friend.

        • Oooh I forgot about the cash register candy, I can’t eat most of what’s on the market because of an additive that makes my guts shut down and my mouth/face/head get itchy and swell.

          Chocolate cravings can be a magnesium craving or emotional craving/need.

  19. I just bought an ~at home dip manicure set~ bc I convinced myself that I’ll maintain that and avoid excessive salon bills…. execution TBD

  20. patterned socks. i’ve gotten to the point where i don’t make eye contact with the shelves as i furtively grab another pair…

    also! i just avoided the impulse to buy a chinchilla! turns out petsmart is not an ideal place to get a breakup text because it makes impulse-buying a chinchilla seem like a logical leap!

  21. I can’t leave my local CVS without picking up Takis, because I live on the far north side of Chicago and it’s weirdly difficult to find Takis up here. Now I have a rule that I only go to CVS to pick up prescriptions. That’s my one opportunity to stock up on hot chips.

  22. The closest I really get to being kid in candy store impulse grab need a chaperone is at the beach.
    Rocks, shells, sand dollar shards, driftwood my grabby little artist hands WANT.
    But do I make art out of them? Only once and haven’t since.

  23. Fun socks are my kryptonite. I just bought five pairs of whimsical, wacky, totally fun-tastic socks. One pair has stamped all over it unicorns puking rainbows, and another pair has UFOs beaming up dinosaurs.

  24. I’m not too bad about this. I actually have the opposite issue of feeling horrible guilt for buying myself anything, even stuff I need. But if I had to pick it would be books, even though I have dozens yet to read and very little time, and candy. The limited run products at Aldi are my vice.

    • I’ve dealt with and am still dealing with that even tho I’m not in that state where I had to actively decide that I wanted to live and continue to experience the world and need this or that to do it what worked well enough for me to do the things rather than be useless hungry guilt puddle of do-nothingness was:

      Reaffirm to self that you deserve or need these items or need to do these action and as insultingly as possible tell the guilt to go away until the task was done.

      Like I’m pretty sure we both know guilt over the necessaries is symptom of something deeper that takes more than creative insults at negative feels, and self affirmations but whatever gets ya thru the day.

  25. Steam and GOG sales are definitely my weakness. I usually end up buying a game or two during every big sale.

  26. My favourite impulse buy was when I came back from a pub trip at university slightly drunk after chatting about fun exercise options with friends, and ordered a hula hoop online. I thought I’d bought one that could be deconstructed into little pieces. It was actually 40 inches across, and delivered to my student halls in a giant cardboard box which I had to lug back to my room through a bunch of communal spaces. It was too large to exercise with except for in 2 specific points in my room, but people would comment on the giant hula hoop every time they came over.

    I cut down on impulse buying after this incident.

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