Here’s What People Buy When They Spend Impulsively

Work is crazy, your schedule is crazy, and you feel like you're going crazy. You attempt to buy your way to calmness, so you hit up your favorite store or you hit the BUY NOW button online. Somehow, you feel a sense of satisfaction. Relief, even. We've all been there....

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kristinwong

Hey! I'm Kristin. a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about how to freelance, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn't working. Want to learn more? Start here.

What You're Saying

Here’s What People Buy When They Spend Impulsively

Work is crazy, your schedule is crazy, and you feel like you’re going crazy. You attempt to buy your way to calmness, so you hit up your favorite store or you hit the BUY NOW button online. Somehow, you feel a sense of satisfaction. Relief, even.

impulsive spending

We’ve all been there. Impulsive spending is certainly nothing new. That said, I recently stumbled on some interesting research about the kinds of products we buy when we spend impulsively. The findings say a lot about how we deal with money in general.

Impulsive Spending Makes Us Feel in Control

In this recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers looked at the kind of stuff people buy when they spend impulsively. You’d think we would buy luxury items, right? Expensive chocolate, fancy clothes, frivolous gadgets, that sort of thing.

Not exactly.

Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers discovered that impulsive spending leads us to buy practical, useful things. Like Windex.

“Consumers who experience a loss of control are more likely to buy products that are more functional in nature, such as screwdrivers and dish detergent, because these are typically associated with problem-solving, which may enhance people’s sense of control.”

And there it is: the need for control. It’s so easy to feel a complete lack of control over your own life, including your finances that, sometimes, buying utilitarian products (like cleaning supplies or other household goods) feels productive. The study hit home for me because Amazon is often the first place I navigate to when I’m feeling burnt out at work. Hitting “buy now” on something you “need” feels like you’re accomplishing something, almost like checking an item off of your to-do list. And when you’re stressed and confused and vulnerable, that small accomplishment makes you feel better, if only for a moment.  read more…

kristinwong

Hey! I'm Kristin. a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about how to freelance, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn't working. Want to learn more? Start here.

What You're Saying

Here’s What People Buy When They Spend Impulsively

Work is crazy, your schedule is crazy, and you feel like you're going crazy. You attempt to buy your way to calmness, so you hit up your favorite store or you hit the BUY NOW button online. Somehow, you feel a sense of satisfaction. Relief, even. We've all been there....

read more

A Quick Tip for Waking Up Early to Write

It’s hard to make time for your own stuff. You likely have other priorities that take up most of your day, like work. Work always gets in the way, doesn’t it? But alas, you have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and money to make. I used to run into this problem when I...

read more

How to Deal With a “Vulnerability Hangover”

You just put yourself out there. Maybe you confronted a friend or asked your boss for a raise or Tweeted a passionate opinion. Now, you feel exposed. But it's too late. You can't take back what you've said, requested, or expressed in 140 characters. Maybe your hands...

read more

How to Thrive at Work When You’re an Introvert

This is a guest post from Will Chou of willyoulaugh.com. Introvert. That’s what I am labeled as. And usually, it’s not a good thing. Most of the Western world seems to view this classification as a handicap towards success. It sucks when you’re too shy to network or...

read more

How to Answer “What Do You Do?” When You’re a Freelancer

You go to a party and, circling the snack table, you meet someone new. He asks how you know the host. Do you live in the neighborhood? If so, have you tried that new restaurant that opened up? Everything is going just peachy, but you know at some point, this guy is...

read more

How to Use the Anchoring Bias for Negotiating Salary

When it comes to negotiating salary, most of us need all the help we can get. I'm convinced that 90% of learning how to negotiate is just getting past the implosive mixture of feelings that keep you from asking in the first place: guilt, shame, inadequacy,...

read more