We all make unplanned purchases from time to time. It can be as simple as doing groceries while you’re hungry and picking up something extra you didn’t plan on buying. That is what we call impulsive spending.
However, many use impulsive and compulsive spending interchangeably, while there is a clear difference. An unplanned expense can be classified as impulsive spending, while compulsive spending often has a deeper psychological cause.
If you spend hours browsing shopping sites or buying stuff that you know you want and do not need, chances are, you’re an impulsive spender. But, what does that term mean?
According to Forbes, impulsive spending means when you buy something you weren’t planning on getting.
Human beings are generally pleasure-seekers; we love instant gratification and material stuff. We dream about money and the things money can buy.
It is one of the most common reasons behind impulsive buying. We go shopping for a particular thing, and another product catches our eye, we love it, and we buy it.
Who doesn’t love a good deal? If you can get a discount, why would you pay full price? Or why would you pay to ship when you can get shipping for free?
According to SlickDeals, 74% of Americans will be more inclined to buy a product that offers free shipping. And 52% of Americans are more likely to buy a product when there’s a deal.
Compulsive spending is often confused with impulsive spending; however, it is a lot more severe. Many people consider compulsive spending to be an actual compulsion rather than something you do on impulse.
Seeking happiness and peace in material items is one of the biggest reasons people show compulsive behavior. Compulsive buying is often used as an outlet to state these urges and feelings. And before you know it, this shopping behavior becomes an addiction.
At times, compulsive spending behavior has something to do with attracting a particular person or a group of people.
Maybe you spend your savings on the new iPhone just so you can sit at the cool-kids table in the cafeteria, or perhaps you need that Prada purse because everyone else at work had a branded bag.
The most commonly chosen way to deal with this emptiness is to spend compulsively. As buying random things that may seem purposeful at the moment, fills us with euphoria, compulsive buying behavior has become an outlet for us without realizing that we are practicing it at the expense of our future and rationality.