There are all kinds of memes floating around right now talking about just how enticing a Target run can be. You go in expecting to by one bottle of shampoo, and you end up leaving with a bookcase, a handful of sweaters, and a bunch of shelf decorations that you don’t have room for. Why do we do this to ourselves when we don’t even have the funds?? There’s some brain science behind it:
- Delayed reward discounting– It’s the technical term for impulse buying a Happy Meal when you could have had a much better meal at home if you had just taken the time to do it. Instant gratification. It’ll get ya!
- The scarcity principle– The less likely it is that you can actually get something, the more you want it. Sold outJames CharlesMorphe palettes? Time to spend the big bucks.
- Sunk cost fallacy– You’ve already made one initial investment that you can’t get back. Why waste it by stopping your gym membership now?
- Anchoring– If something you want has a high initial price (an anchor), and it’s marked down, you’ll recognize the deal and spend.
- Social facilitation– Other people buying things will convince you to buy things. Don’t shop with spend-happy friends, and don’t go near any auctions!
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