Impulse buying describes the phenomenon that causes you to make that extra purchase because the need for it becomes suddenly very necessary. It can be as small as buying a packet of chewing gum while you are waiting at the checkout, or as big as an expensive car during a sale. You may be well aware of the marketing methods that influence your shopping habits, but these time-tested techniques are still used to great effect, and we will see this in use more over the next few months.

Black Friday has been a big shopping event in the USA for some time, and the spectacle has made the trip across the pond around 2014, propelled by the rise of online shopping through sites like Amazon. It is now easier than ever to make on the fly purchases and quickly accepting credit to fund those purchases that may not be sustainable over the long run. Normally there is nothing wrong with making a decision to buy something on impulse, but buyer’s remorse can cause anxiety and depression.

The entire subject of marketing psychology is fascinating, and far too broad to cover extensively here, so we will focus on two aspects that give savvy marketers that winning edge:

Attention Grabbing Advertising: Bright and loud displays in shop windows, on buses, and everywhere on the internet. Your brain has to process the information bombarding your eyes and ears. You might not have given it a second thought, but your brain did.

Fear of Missing Out: Events like Black Friday are centred around amazing deals that come around only once a year. It appeals to our sense of logic to get the best deal and prevent the feeling of regret by not capitalising on a great opportunity. Supermarkets also take advantage of this with its reduced deals. Sometimes you end up with two of something you don’t need.

People are often surprised how much small impulse spending adds up over the course of months and years. There are practical ways to lessen the consequences of impulse spending such as:

  1. Acknowledging the detail in the marketing: By putting yourself in the position of the seller, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of what you are buying.
  2. Building flexibility in your budget: You can devote part of your disposable income to a fund just for guilt-free fun. It’s like having impulse buying insurance.
  3. Carrying only cash for quick shopping: If you just need to dash to the shop for dinner, or other essentials then having the exact amount completely eliminates the opportunity to buy anything extra.
  4. Delaying purchasing decisions:  This allows initial feelings pass over, when you see something you want, so you can consider the transaction more rationally.

 Remember do not be afraid to buy if it is within your means, but there is no harm in being aware and planning ahead. Your local Credit Union may offer savings accounts and loans for the short and a long term. Find your Credit Union today –