Psychology and Shopping: This is Your Brain on Buying

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Posted on November 5th, 2015 in Holiday Shopping, Online Shopping by NSBblogger |


Retailers look forward to this time of year all year long. It’s not because of the twinkling lights or the feel-good music or the sparkles coating every surface, but because they know you’ll be shelling out big bucks with wild abandon. It’s not your fault: your brain’s to blame. It’s hardwired to feel pleasure post-purchase, and you’ll be positively surrounded with opportunities for it to surge with feel-good chemicals as you walk into a retail wonderland this season. Northeast Security Bank wants to help you reign in your brain with these insights to your cranium and its love of buying.

The role of advertising

Advertisers and marketers sabotage your brain by playing up its ability to channel in on baser desires and fears like:

  • Health and well-being
  • Physical harm
  • Seeking (or avoiding) love
  • Financial loss
  • Recognition
  • Looking the best

Our brain is warped into thinking we need have our desires and fears satisfied like the people in the ads we consume. Our quest for perfection fuels a mad case of “Keep up with the Joneses” syndrome.

Immediate gratification and impulse shopping

This compulsive need to seek and attain the cream of the crop in any field is a need for immediate gratification, which can lead to impulse shopping, or shopping without thinking of future repercussions. When you purchase a $300 TV because your friend just got one, you no longer have that $300 to spend on important things like food, gas or rent. This can lead to higher credit card use and rampant credit card debt.

How to outsmart your pesky, irresponsible brain

Here are a few ways you can overcome the overpowering chemical reactions in your brain that make you want to go out and blow your budget on things you don’t truly need:

  • Never go shopping in a foul mood (sad, angry, depressed, etc.)
  • Ask the following questions:
    • Will I really use what I’m buying?
    • Can I get this product or service for less somewhere else?
    • Why am I making this purchase?
    • Can I actually afford this product or service?
    • Was this need real before I saw it on the shelf, in a commercial, or on the airwaves?

Avoid the post-purchase panic with a little self-restraint, responsibility, and smart financial planning. Northeast Security Bank can help you create a financial strategy so strong, not even your brain’s impulses could overcome it. Call or stop by for planning and product advisory today!


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