The Secret To Being An Impulsive Shopper: Forget The Guilt

Are you an impulsive shopper? Odds are you don’t hang on to the guilt of “succumbing to temptation” the way more prudent shoppers do, says a new university study. The study found that thrill-seeking shoppers and careful shoppers alike feel guilty when they splurge on unnecessary goods, but over time thrill-seekers forget the guilt and only remember the high.

Prudent shoppers, on the other hand, forget the rush and tend to only remember the negative associations of wasteful spending, say the study’s authors. Says study co-author Patti Williams, “If we ask them a couple of days later how [prudent shoppers] feel about that impulsive act, they only feel the guilt and regret.”

“Most of the research had said that when you’re impulsive, immediately you’ll feel positive emotions and with delay you’ll feel negative emotions. What we find is that right after being impulsive people feel both positive and negative and in fact some people feel guilt with delay and some people just don’t.”

The researchers suggest you “live with those negative emotions” a bit more if you want to curb your spending. Or maybe wear a shock collar.

Guilt won’t stop impulsive shoppers, researchers say [CBC News]

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Trai_Dep says:

    When I run into friends that do shopping as entertainment (yup – I live in L.A.), I restrain myself from throttling them. They’re typically the ones with rental space to store last years’ junk and overflowing closets of unused stuff.

    …Then again, they whine about my generous charitable support of local bartenders and global DJs, so I guess we all have our poison.

  2. kchimko says:

    haha and i was just thinking about purchasing a paintball marker online :D

  3. timmus says:

    I like that clip art. But if he’s typing numbers from his card, why is he hitting the Z key?

  4. kchimko says:

    postal code or name?

  5. superlayne says:

    @timmus: “Daw, pretty card, pretty card.”


    I am an impulsive shopper. I don’t leave the house much or have a credit card. That helps curb the purchasing.

  6. jmschn says:

    @superlayne: Yup, not leaving the house much would have worked back before the internet and HSN were around…now you can spend beaucoup bucks just sitting in your house!

  7. Dustbunny says:

    I”m an impulsive shopper. I don’t care. I like shopping. But I can stop any…ooh, look, pretty shiny stuff for sale!!

  8. Maurs says:

    @timmus: It’s probably easy to miss keys when you are as inebriated as that fellow appears to be.

  9. timmus says:

    drunk on spending!

  10. no.no.notorious says:

    yey! things! things can make up for substance!

  11. SOhp101 says:

    @trai_dep: Shopping can be entertainment; you just have to act the same way as you would in a strip club–look, but don’t touch (buy).

  12. Brie says:

    Oddly, I don’t know anyone who impulse-shops in malls or the like. But I DO know lots of people who have to have the latest car model, hottest TV, biggest house…

  13. shoegazer says:

    @timmus: Because male models have the exclusive ‘Z shiny’ Amexes.

  14. DTWD says:

    Wow, that guy is flying.

    Whenever I spend over $100 or if I just buy a lot of stuff in one day, then I feel really bad about it. I’m usually tied over for a couple of weeks.

  15. Jesse in Japan says:

    Want to stop being a compulsive shopper? Move into a really, really small apartment. There are so many things I want to buy and could afford to buy, but can’t buy because I literally would not have any place to put them.

  16. Asvetic says:

    @timmus: Ah, that explains why he’s holding that card so close to his face.

    First it was drunk dialing, the it was drunk texting and drunk IMing, now it’s drunk online shopping… What won’t people do drunk?!

  17. gabi says:

    @Jesse in Japan: Agreed. I might be in trouble though, I just found out the dorm room I’ll be living in this fall is considerably bigger than the loft I’m using at my mom’s place. Hopefully I’ll think about trying to bring stuff back to the loft before I go shopping…

  18. Peeved Guy says:

    That is one funny photo. I find it funnier the more I look at it.

    “Oh! Good Credit! I hardly knew Ye.”
    -or-
    Daryl knew that the ward nurse could return at any minute so he had to purchase his lifetime supply of silly string quickly.

  19. ingridc says:

    @Asvetic: Had a friend in college whose parents were loaded (nothing against loaded parents!). She used to get super-drunk on a regular basis and buy piles of clothes online from Victoria’s Secret and other “quality” stores. By the time she graduated, she had such a ridiculous collection of “drunken” unmentionables that she ended up giving most of it away. Nice spending.

    I’m guilty of the occasional impulse buy. More than anything, however, I’m a compulsive comparison shopper. It takes me weeks to purchase anything over $30–gadgets especially.

  20. acambras says:

    It looks like he’s making bedroom eyes at that card.

    Ooh, look at you. Who’s your daddy? You’re gonna get it tonight!

  21. welsey says:

    I just had to transfer my guilt. I had no guilt buying lots of shampoo/makeup/whatever CVS is selling – but was uncomfortable buying clothes, jewelry or electronics. This left me with shiny hair that smelled good and busted-ass everything else. And completely broke cause it’s easy to impulsively spend a lot on little purchases. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s saved me money to be impulsive, but slightly less so, on more expensive items than really impulsive on cheap stuff. It’s all kind of stupid, but if my money has to go somewhere unnecessarily I’d rather have it be a new pair of jeans than nail strengthening top-coat.