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Five Psychological Reasons Behind Our Unnecessary Shopping Sprees

At some point in our lives, we’ve probably resorted to retail therapy to cheer ourselves up. Bargain sales are most especially hard to ignore, and we usually find our willpower crumbling and fall victim to compulsive-buying. The worst thing is that the moment we arrive home and look at everything we purchased, we realize that most of these things are unnecessary. Sometimes, it almost seems like our mind is playing some game with us, tricking us into buying things we don’t need. If you have ever felt anything like this, chances are that you were right. There are various psychological reasons why we end up buying useless things. Intrigued? Here are some of them:

Diderot Effect

Coined by French philosopher Denis Diderot, the term has become very popular in recent times. Diderot wrote an essay titled Regrets Of Parting With My Old Dressing Gown wherein he describes how a man bought a new scarlet dressing gown who, after one thing led to another, found himself buried in huge debts. The point here is that whenever we buy something new and come home to our old things, we want to buy more because we want to replace our old possessions — it is a never-ending process!

Snob Effect

Some people believe that buying expensive things are the only way to attract attention. They even go out of their way to buy exclusive designer clothes, limited edition cars, or rare artworks. In short, whatever is expensive and hard to get with little practical value is worthy of buying for these people. Psychologists call this the snob effect. If you have ever felt anything like this, you might want to take a minute to stop and ponder. Think of the things you are good at? Don’t you think people might be attracted to you more because of the way you think or because of what you have achieved so far? A rare piece of art might show that you are a culturally advanced person but being sensitive towards other people will make you a better human being!

Bandwagon Effect

Jumping on the bandwagon means following whatever the latest trend is in an effort to “be cool”. Because of our desire to be a part of what’s in trend, we tend to splurge money despite knowing that it’s totally unnecessary. Because of the ever-changing nature of what’s hot and what’s not, people jump from one bandwagon to another to stay on top which isn’t good for anyone’s bank account. In fact, we don’t always make use of what’s trending because we either may not like it at all or we forget about it. The next time you jump into a bandwagon, think before you leap. Do you really need to stay on top? And for what purpose? What will you gain from it?

Impulsive Buying

This term doesn’t need much explaining. We have all been there and done that. It is equal to stress eating, and most of us do not feel too guilty of the fact that shopping makes us happier. However, we tend to forget that we are not really in a mood to buy, but are using this as a distraction which is probably the reason we buy things that are usually just a waste of money.

Fear Buying

Here is another piece of insight from psychologists about our habit of buying. It has been found that if we’ve been constantly told “no” when buying things we wanted in our childhood, it kind of creates a grudge in us. Later in life, we tend to make impulsive purchases because of this fear that someone might say no. So the next time you say no to your child, think about what consequences it might lead to in their adulthood. So make sure you handle your child’s tantrums correctly.

Apart from all these psychological reasons, there are, of course, the various kinds of marketing gimmicks that lure us into buying things that we usually avoid or do not use at all. Supermarkets are built in a specific way to encourage customers from buying things. It has also been found that discounts and flashy billboards make us want to go to the shops. It is known that if we are hungry while doing grocery shopping, we tend to buy more than we need. So, next time you go to your neighborhood Walmart, don’t forget to have some food before going!

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