4 Psychological Triggers That Make You Buy Things

Identify them, deal with them, and turn yourself into a smarter shopper.

Thanks to the seemingly infinite number of tempting offers available today, both online and offline, staying true to your budget is nothing short of a herculean task.

Companies are employing all sorts of tricks and tactics to open up your wallet and take hold of your hard-earned cash — often for things you don’t even need.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight back against those tricks and tactics.

Whether you consider yourself a shopaholic or someone who just needs to practice a bit more restraint, this post will teach you everything you need to take charge of your spending.

Let’s dive in.

Find Your Psychological Triggers — and Deal With Them

To get rid of unhealthy shopping habits, you need to identify your psychological triggers and deal with them the right way.

To help you do that, here are the 4 most common psychological shopping triggers along with a solution for each. See if any rings true for your spending style:

1. Shopper’s High

When you run for a long period, you get the runner’s high — which is a release of dopamine in your brain. Similarly, when you go on a shopping spree, you get a shopper’s high.

According to data gathered by market experts, 31% of women say they’ve shopped specifically to improve their mood, and 53% of people shopped to celebrate something.

So, it’s clear that shopping is often directly related to happy feelings, even if those feelings are temporary. 

Solution: 

The next time you get an urge to buy something to make yourself feel good, try substituting shopping with another activity that makes you happy, such as spending time with your pet, calling your friend, or playing a game you haven’t played in a while.

Sounds ridiculously simple, but it works surprisingly well!

2. The Idea of Saving

Whenever we see a sign like “70% off!”, our brain automatically switches to an odd mindset. Instead of considering the actual price, our focus shifts to the savings

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book — and sadly, people still fall for it. 

Solution: 

Be extra cautious with discounts. Always take an extra moment to think about a purchase when the item is discounted.

Never buy a product just because it’s discounted. Instead, ask yourself if you’d buy it for the original price? Unless the answer is a resounding yes, save your money for a product that deserves it.

3. Panic Buys

Have you ever bought something because the amazing 50% off deal was about to expire the next day? This is what marketers call the flash sales technique.

Such offers are designed to feed into your fear of missing out and rush you into buying something you probably wouldn’t buy otherwise. 

Solution: 

Unsubscribe from all the daily promotional emails. This way, you can check in with each site individually and on your own time instead of being tempted by dozens of flash deals daily in your email.

Take back your control.

4. Boredom

As we mentioned earlier, shopping is directly linked to elevating mood. So when you’re bored, the thought of shopping will cross your mind once or twice (at least). 

If you give in, your chances of ending up on a shopping spree are very high.

Solution: 

A good way to deal with boredom is having a clear list of all your fun side projects and other activities you enjoy doing on your free time. This way whenever boredom strikes, you’ll be well equipped to beat it, without mindlessly wandering off to online shopping, for example.

Don’t overestimate your willpower when you’re bored. Your list will save you.

Fight the Urge to Splurge Using Smart Tactics

Identifying your shopping triggers and finding a way to deal with them is a great start. The next step is to use some smart tactics to turn yourself into a smart buyer.

Check out our list of the top 4 smart shopping tactics:

1. Create a Budget

If you want to create the right budget for yourself and then actually stick to it, write down your answers to the following 3 questions on a piece of paper: 

  1. How much do you want to spend?
  2. How much do you want to save?
  3. Why do you want to save this amount?

Once you’re done, put the piece of paper somewhere you’ll see it daily. This final step is the key to consistency. 

2. Apply the One In, One Out Rule

In a nutshell, whenever you buy something, you must either sell or donate a similar item. For instance, if you want to buy a new pair of joggers, you must let go of a pair of shoes from your closet. 

This way you’ll both figuratively and literally lose something for every item you buy — thus helping you buy less and keep your closet decluttered at the same time. 

3. Mix and Match

When you think you have nothing to wear, it is often because of a lack of ideas rather than a lack of clothes.

That’s why you should always mix and match to discover an outfit you may not have thought of before. 

If you’re struggling to find some creative ideas, get one of your fashionable friends to help you. They’ll bring a whole new perspective to your wardrobe. 

Pinterest and Instagram are also great sources of outfit ideas. 

4. Reward Yourself for Good Behavior

If you manage to stick to your budget, then you should reward yourself for the good behavior. Positive reinforcement is scientifically proven to work. 

A good way to do this is by selecting a clothing item that you really want at the start of a month. If you manage to stay within budget for the entire month, reward yourself by buying the selected item.

You can of course adjust the time frame to 3 months or more, depending on what suits your habits best.

The Key to Resisting Retail Therapy

If you want to take charge of your spending, you should never buy something just because it’s trending. Always justify the need for a product and only move forward if you have a valid answer.

For instance, we’re regularly promoting the Cirrus No.2 Steamer. It’s a product we believe can be extremely handy for many people — even those who are actively trying to declutter their belongings.

The appealing photos and positive reviews might make you want to buy it, but if you have the space to air dry your clothes and have garments that don’t get wrinkled easily, then you probably don’t need the steamer.

When it comes to shopping, don’t let your feelings loose. Strive to make the rational choice to stay in control.

Quick Summary

To resist the urge to splurge and live a life of minimalism, all you need is to: 

  1. Identify and deal with your shopping triggers.
  2. Use smart tactics to overcome the urge to splurge.
  3. Never buy an item just because it is trending.

This just in: Our upcoming weekly newsletter!

Every Monday (starting in the near future) we’re going to be sending out a short email to our subscribers. It’s meant to ease the stress of a new week by reminding you how to take a more minimalist approach to life.

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