Over-shopping and COVID-19: Part 2

Although there are no official figures published, it is estimated that the average person now encounters somewhere between 6000-10,000 ads or marketing messages every single day.

And we can thank the internet and new technologies. As soon as new technology becomes available, advertisers are always looking at how it can be monetized and help share their advertising messages.

Shopping has become recreation – with out of town shopping centres becoming a ‘day out’ destination for families on a regular basis.

Our smartphones mean that the temptation to spend money is just a few clicks away, and it has never been easier to be tempted.

However, as with any addictive and undesirable behaviour, removing temptation is an important first step, but how do we do this when going ‘cold turkey’ is not an option? We all need to shop at least for the essentials…

The answer is to raise awareness of the ways in which you most frequently get triggered, or an urge to shop or spend for something you don’t need, purely to entertain, to relieve boredom, or to fill any one of a host of emotional needs (as discussed in part 1 of this post).

It’s a bit like food - I know, for instance that I always get peckish when it is near the end of the working day, but dinner is a couple of hours away. That is when I am most likely to be triggered and have an urge to raid the biscuit tin. In order to avoid ‘overspending on calories’ I need to either divert my attention to a deliberate avoidance activity, or find a healthier alternative such as snacking on fruit or having a glass of water.

After 10 weeks in lockdown it is understandable that we will experience periods of boredom, and many will reach for the biscuits (or the laptop for a bit of surfing the internet for retail therapy).

So how can we outwit the clever and sophisticated marketing wizardry to make sure we hang onto our cash?

Here are some tips

Unsubscribe from retail emails – whether they are sites you have previously shopped on, or stores who captured your email address at the till (“would you like us to email you a copy of your receipt?”)

Shop mindfully – if you need something specific that’s fine but limit the time you spend looking and don’t get distracted; set a timer on your phone

Don’t get sucked into spending more – how often do go to checkout only to see a message saying “spend another £x to get free delivery” and you end up spending another £50 to save £2.95 on that delivery?!!

Limited time offers – buy now or lose out FOREVER! Don’t fall for these tricks to part you from your cash….

Take a pause – if you feel an impulse to buy something, sleep on it first, think about whether you really need it, or are you allowing your money (or credit card) to burn a hole in your pocket

"You can never get enough of what you don't really need" (Dr April Lane Benson, PhD)

NEXT WEEK: Part 3 of this blog series - your secret weapon to stop over-shopping

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