Are You An Emotional Shopper?

by Brandi Savitt – December 08, 2011

The Lure of Luxury

We’ve all done it…  Maybe it was the day you found out that you didn’t get the job you were hoping for, or you just lost a big account at the office?  Or even worse, maybe the guy you’ve been seeing broke up with you- just as you were really starting to like him?  We’ve all gone shopping after a particularly bad day and indulged in a little retail therapy to make ourselves feel better.  And you know what?  It works –that is, until the credit card bill comes at the end of the month…

Social Status & Spending

I recently read an article by Daisy Grewal in Scientific American entitled – When You Try to Buy Status, It Can Backfire, and it was fascinating.  The piece highlighted a couple of university studies that showed when people feel inferior and that their social status is lower (even if it’s just temporary), they are  willing to spend more money on luxury purchases than someone who is feeling more confident and secure!

Buying Your Way Up the Ladder

So what does this say about how the human psyche affects our spending habits – and who is more likely to go into debt as a result?  According to the article, “the desire for social status is one of the most important factors driving human behavior”, and spending money to show (and feel) that you are upwardly mobile is often the quick fix for many people – even if they don’t have the money to spend.  In this day and age, our place on the ladder of social hierarchy still influences (if not determines) everything from who we are friends with, who we marry to how long we live.  And the worse you feel about your social standing, the more likely you are to try and buy it.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t outsmart biology – or does it?

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One Response to “Are You An Emotional Shopper?”

  1. Matilda says:

    Fabulous and enlightening article. I think it will help many to reevaluate their spending…I know it will help me.

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