We all enjoy a bit of retail therapy, but when you shop you might often feel conflicted by wanting the immediate gratification that comes from buying a shiny new item yet thinking about your future financial goals (paying rent, buying a house or saving for retirement). Why does this keep happening?
- You simply don’t think about it.
When you shop impulsively you don’t engage in the process of evaluating all the information about a product – its pros and cons, the value for money, guarantees, durability or necessity. In an impulse purchase your decision might simply be based on whether purchasing this particular product will make you feel a certain way: happy, excited or thrilled. Think about the last time you purchased a new, overpriced pair of shoes. Didn’t you just want to feel cool or pretty or excited? What feelings were you chasing?
- You are too close, way too close.
Recent studies have shown that the closer you are to the object you want to buy, the more you are at risk of an impulse purchase. So run as far and as quickly as you can, because the closer you are to the item you want to buy, the more you will view it as bigger, more important and more attractive. Your proximity to the object of your desire will influence how you view it. So if you know you have a problem controlling your urge to splurge, stay away from shopping centres. The closer you are to temptation the easier it will be for you to splash some cash (or some credit cards).
- You have no self-control.
Many researchers specialising in the subject of self-control agree that the reason people overspend is because they have no or very little self-control. Whether you have very little self-control or simply give yourself a licence to overspend, you need to address this issue. Whether it makes you happy or not, at the end of the day you have to pay your rent and electricity bills. Learn how to control yourself today, to minimise the pain and discomfort.
- You are experiencing a low mood and low self-esteem.
Research has shown that some people consistently engage in impulsive shopping and unhealthy snacking because they are in a low mood, have low self-esteem or low self-worth. That’s exactly when your retail therapy is not helping you to heal; instead, it makes life worse for you. One of the main issues with buying ‘stuff’ to make yourself feel better is that the feeling simply does not last – sometimes it disappears as soon as you walk out of the shop. You might really like to explore other ways of dealing with your self-worth, self-esteem and confidence.
- You are fixating on feeling good.
For some people it is extremely important to be in a good mood and experiencing positive or pleasant emotions. This is one of the biggest issues for so many of us nowadays: we expect to feel happy all the time. It seems as though it is wrong to feel sad if you have experienced a loss or disappointment or to feel stressed if you are going through a tough time. One study showed that impulse buyers experience excitement, happiness and enthusiasm shortly after purchase. I am wondering if there are other ways for you to experience these feelings without having to become a slave to your credit card.
Simply give yourself a chance not to be as dependent on spending money for the quick thrill, feeling better temporarily, not thinking your purchases through and not even trying to control yourself. Challenge yourself: give yourself a month without shopping for non-essentials. If you are worried that it would be too hard, don’t worry – we can help. Visit www.impulsivity.com.au where we have developed a program just for you to help you to control yourself at all times.