Buying on impulse is a natural thing but can be dangerous in large quantities. Here are the main reasons we keep buying things we might not actually need.
If you look around your home, how often do you spot something that you bought on a whim? How many items around your house did you buy simply because you could, rather than for a real reason? Impulse buying is a very common phenomenon that almost everyone experiences. While there’s nothing wrong with an impulse purchase every so often, repeatedly doing this can cause serious financial and clutter problems in the future. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why we keep making impulse purchases so you can spot them right away and start practicing financial self care.
Trying To Be Loss Averse
One of the major reasons we keep making impulse buys is because of a misguided attempt to avoid loss. When you spot something that you might want, maybe you are able to pull away from it until you see that it’s on sale for a limited time only. Your brain immediately believes that if you don’t take that deal now, you’ll miss out on it in the future when you actually want whatever item it is. Being loss averse isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to know when sellers are trying to manipulate this urge.
Thinking We’re “Winning”
Similarly, retailers often try to trick us into buying things we don’t need by making offers that seem too good to be true. A huge discount or a 2-for-1 sale can sometimes feel like the perfect opportunity to get a leg up on the retailers we normally shell out so much money for. Try to resist this shopping urge because the truth is that you won’t “win” by buying into a deal like that. The retailer wouldn’t offer that deal if it didn’t still make them more money in the long run, but they know you’ll feel like you were the winner in the transaction afterward.
Picturing an Idealized Future
This is very common for people who believe that all they need to improve their lives is just this one thing they still don’t have. Perhaps it’s a new piece of exercise equipment or expensive makeup. The flawed idea here is that your mind pictures a future where all your current problems are dealt with by just buying this one special thing. The reality is that meaningful changes in our lives take long and dedicated work to create. Very rarely will you be able to buy your way into the life you want.
Chasing a High
We’ve all had a bad day and bought something to make ourselves feel better. Again, there’s nothing wrong with doing this occasionally. On the other hand, constantly trying to drown out our negative feelings through buying more stuff we don’t need isn’t healthy. Receiving something new gives us a small burst of the chemicals in our brain that make us happy, but this doesn’t last long. If you do this often, the effects will eventually start to dwindle, and you’ll end up with more junk than you know what to do with.