Shopping with Your Friend Helps You Spend Less (aka the Legend of the Enabler, Debunked)

The next time you have a sudden urge to hit the sales solo, stop and invite a friend to come along. A recent study conducted by psychologists at the University of Montreal found that women shop less and are less likely to make impulse buys when they are with a companion rather than alone. According to researchers:

The presence of a friend while shopping enhances significantly more apprehension than shopping alone. Conversely, when shoppers are alone, they are more likely to reduce their inhibitions and make impulse purchases and even not to tell the truth about their purchases.

Researchers discovered that some people can develop an attachment to certain shops or malls, and when those shoppers visit those places, they get a feeling of arousal, urging them to buy more.

Although you might believe that your friend is a shopping "enabler" (you know, the kind that says everything looks cute on you), they might actually be helping you in the long run, even more so than shopping with your mom or sister. Researchers found that the presence of a family member did not affect people the same way shopping with a friend did.

This study seems to go hand and hand with yesterday's story about the legitimacy of retail therapy. When I'm having a bad day, there's nothing more stress-relieving than a shopping trip all by my lonesome. At the same time, it explains why I end up spending way more than I planned on. Lesson learned: when heading to the mall, grab a friend, get your shopping therapy in and end all buyer's remorse.

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