It is a late evening, you just got back home, boiled water, prepared a cup of tea and turned your PC on. Do you know where your purse is? If you are part of a great majority, having the same purchasing behaviour when it is a late evening of a tiring day, you will probably find it lying right next to you, waiting to be open and used.
We all have read about magical Wednesdays and Sundays, two days of the week when people become a little more relaxed about their purchases and focus their attention on something they should not. According to numerous research done in US, people tend to spend over 20% more during Wednesdays and Sundays. The situation gets even worse if it’s an evening after a tiring day, i.e. university or/and a job.
A simple way to check your psychological state towards purchases would be going out to a supermarket after you had a tiring day. You need to buy a loaf of bread, milk, eggs and a piece of ham, but you end up buying all this plus triple chocolate muffin box, white chocolate, cookies and 2 liters of ice-cream. The psychology behind such situation is easy to understand: we all want to reward ourselves and we are looking for the treat since we think we deserve it. Psychologists call this as “ego depletion”: an attitudinal behaviour when we become a little careless about our purchases when tired.
Having a tiring day (both physically and mentally) can affect your purchasing behaviour, which turns out to be “less beneficial” (both from a material perspective and a financial perspective) than some other time. The “after-job” time, when you are willing to spend more is sometimes also called a “happy hour” – the time when you want to rewards yourself with something you deserve, either by foods or by goods. You get home, get into your own space, get relaxed and are more willing to write down your Visa numbers while purchasing a new pair of facial cream or a scarf. Such emotional state that makes us more vulnerable in regards to our purchases in economics is called “spending trigger”. The bad news is, that we all from time to time have “spending triggers”, but the good news is, that knowing what the “traps” of such behaviour are, you can find ways to avoid bad purchases and financial regrets.
If You Are Overworked
You like your job. Actually, no, you love your job. But the love is so frustrating, that it takes much more than 37 hours/week of your full attention and the only thing that you are craving for, is rest. You might be thinking that you deserve something more than 40 or 60 hour job and that is why online shopping might seem an appropriate way to end your tiring working day regardless of your purchases. Sure, you might be thinking that you can compensate a lack of free time with something you might be wanting (a new computer or a large flat-screen TV), however, such new purchases will make you happy only for a while. Our needs and wants certainly differ, one could be happy with a new pair of shoes whereas the other would consider purchasing the newest Macbook Pro, but the result still tends to be the same: an (un)wanted and (un)predicted purchase with the (un)wanted and (un)predicted expenditure. Something that you could live without. Something you are not fully sure whether you need or want. Something you are undecided about.
In order to avoid high expenditures and unwanted goods, try to set a barrier which you cannot exceed. Think of something feasible: if you think 200 kr/month is a good amount of “unpredicted expenditures”, try to keep purchases within the decided amount. After all, when you have worked for too long, try weighting an opportunity cost: wouldn’t it be better to get an extra hour of sleep rather than purchasing new set eye shadows which you might not even need?
You Are In Need Of Something
You are 100% you need a special product you have been dreaming about for a long time and you simply decide to check the prices as you get back home tired. Knowing that our self-control highly depend on our levels of tiredness, you might want to postpone your purchases, even though you might be thinking that you want it right here and right now.
In order to help maintain control over your purchases, it may pay to avoid making important financial decisions if you feel tired. For less important decisions (such as small purchases) it could also pay off to wait until the next day. And in order to avoid such unpredictable purchases as chocolate muffins or ice-cream, try making a “needs” and “wishlist” for groceries. Saving 20 kr. each week could add a bit of savings into your “leisure” account and if you do so, you might end up having a pleasant amount of savings by saving just a little each time (read an article “Save money like Chinese do”).
After all, it is said that money can buy you happiness, only if you spend them right.