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You pay off your credit cards in full, contribute to a 401(k) and coupon-clip like it’s a competitive sport.
And then... a heat wave hits and you’ve suddenly wasted $300 on tiki torches.
Turns out, while rational thinking can help you tighten your purse strings, accidental overspending is much harder to control.
Check out our list of sneaky emotional triggers (from hunger to heartache) that can cause you to go over budget. Then learn what you can do to outsmart your shopaholic instincts.
The self-esteem boost you got from your latest selfie? (Twenty-seven likes in just five minutes!) Did you know it can actually nudge you toward an imprudent shopping spree? A recent Journal of Consumer Research study showed that increased feelings of self-worth (thanks to social media endorsements) can lead to a loss of control when making purchasing decisions.
Our advice: Lay off the Facebook before trolling Barneys.
Running errands in your house clothes can cost you. According to Darren Dahl, Ph.D., a marketing expert at the Sauder School of Business, being around well-dressed shoppers and sales associates can make you feel insecure, thereby prompting you to rationalize that $98 T-shirt price.
Our advice: Put on some actual pants, for Pete’s sake.
Sweltering summer days will make you splurge on more than just iced coffee. You see, physical warmth makes you think about emotional warmth...which, in turn, causes you to assign more value to products than they intrinsically have. In fact, scientists posit that you could end up paying up to 10 percent more during a heat wave.
Our advice: Make sure you’re well hydrated before a mall excursion. And never go to an outdoor market in 95-degree heat.
Online shopping is a thing of beauty. But did you know that an untidy desk could lead to a higher balance on your credit card? Indeed, messy surroundings create a sense of chaos, researchers have found, depleting your mental energy and sense of personal control.
Our advice: Organize your workspace before browsing flash sales.
Retail therapy may be good for the heart, but it’s terrible for the wallet. A survey by British cash-back site Quidco.com showed that women will spend $70 more, on average, after a breakup--and $40 more after an argument.
Our advice: Put down the J.Crew catalog and call your mom for a vent session.
A shopping jaunt with your bestie may come at a premium. Not only are we more influenced to make purchases in tandem, but just hearing a salesperson compliment your pal in the dressing room can prompt you to buy, buy, buy.
Our advice: Shop solo. Or find uglier friends. (Just kidding.)
Shopping feels like a better alternative to twiddling your thumbs, but it can cost you--$50 extra, on average, researchers suggest.
Our advice: Learn to crochet. Take up tennis. Read Chaucer. If you must ogle handbags, leave your wallet at home and go window-shopping.
A paycheck inflates your bank account, making you think you have extra disposable income. No wonder women tend to spend an average of $65 more on payday than they would at other times of the month.
Our advice: Time your shopping trips for weeks when you don’t get paid. It’ll keep you honest.
Grocery stores prey upon hungry shoppers--why else would they have the delicious rotisserie chicken up front and the uncooked (cheaper) poultry in the back? Cornell University researchers recently proved that when you shop on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to buy more and make stupider, more high-calorie purchases.
Our advice: Eat first, shop second. (And roast your own chicken.)
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