I’ve received a lot of question about “How to stop impulse buying?” Everything about shopping is designed to make us feel delicious. The bags and boxes, labels and logos all add up to a dizzying experience. Slide in lights, music, colors, shapes, smells and designs and it’s little wonder we succumb. It’s all a science of course, a science whose only purpose is to part us with our money.
It begins with the way things are named and packaged. There are no accidents at the perfume counter or Apple Store. The shapes, names, and images that underpin these objects of desire are chosen for their power to enthral. The pinlights in the ceiling, the fleeting flashing graphics and the artfully arranged displays have all been tested, evaluated and scored. When we walk into a shopping center or department store our path has been planned. The aisles are laid out so as to lead us deeper and deeper into wonderland – Until we land with a bump at the end of the month and realize we’ve hammered the plastic again.
Why do are we predisposition to impulse buying?
When we were children we went shopping and wanted everything. Now we’re grownups we can go shopping and have everything, at least until we hit our credit limit. Shops are enemy territory. 98% of what they sell ends up as landfill. And yet that New Thing compels our attention. That “New Thing” is the thing we now can’t live without. We didn’t know about it until today but now; now we can’t live without it.
In our hearts we know that nothing we buy ever keeps its promise of fulfillment but we carry on believing the spiel over and over again. It’s almost like we’re hypnotized. In a way, some of us are. Some of us are wired to get out of feeling rotten by buying stuff. It doesn’t work, at least not in the long term. A better way to get out of feeling rotten is to prove to yourself that you’re actually quite clever. If something is truly desirable today then it will be equally desirable next week. Rather than snapping everything up immediately put a shopping together and study the retail cycle. Plan a bit. Remember, 10% off doesn’t amount to much if you’re paying 27% interest.
How to stop impulse buying? Recognize you have a problem
If you’re a shopaholic, recognize that it’s an addiction. Other people, people you don’t know, can press a button in your head and make you spend right up to the limit. Impulse buying fills our cupboards with stuff that’s never quite as wonderful as it seemed in the shop. It gives us a momentary rush now, and a comedown at the end of the month. Like all addictions it borrows fun from tomorrow to enjoy today. Like all addictions the buzz never makes up for the payback. And, like all addictions, it can be kicked.
Alcoholics avoid pubs. Shopaholics avoid shops. There’s a life beyond retail. Start enjoying it. Stop shopping.