The accompanying infographic, The Psychology of Consumer Spending, provides a brief overview of consumer spending, highlighting compulsive purchasing. The graphic also offers sections about the reasons for compulsive shopping and how our brains respond to it. Psychologists think that compulsive buying results from a void in an individual’s life. This could be stemming from childhood, or the need for approval or excitement or, the simplest explanation yet, a real lack of impulse control.
Regardless of why people shop — when we shop, we feel good. The reward part of our brain lights up, dopamine floods our system, and we are happy — at least for a while. The problem comes when a person is truly “addicted” to shopping. That’s when the brain craves more shopping, just like a drug addict’s brain cries out for more opioids or alcohol. It is important to understand that a shopping high is only temporary and will not provide long-term satisfaction.
One solution that seems to help many people is simply tearing up credit cards. Using cash for all or some of your purchases can reduce compulsive spending. When you pay with cash straight from your wallet, you’re more aware of how much you’re really spending and what you have left to spend. It really does work! Another solution is to plan. Make a shopping list with a budget and stick to it — you’ll be surprised at how few impulse purchases you make.
Continue reading to learn more about this interesting topic.
Graphic created by Illinois Lending.