The 7 Emotional Stages of Impulsive Shopping

by Vanesa Pacheco

I’m a frugal shopper. Actually, to specify, I’m an over-thinking frugal shopper. In most cases, I spend a good deal of time searching for the best bargains and sales before even considering buying something. Like the majority of people, I love to shop, but I hate spending money. Who wants to watch their bank account slowly dwindle down? Alas, I’m only human and I can't resist those moments when I stumble across a cute top that's marked down to $5! I try to be thoughtful, but there are moments when I am overtaken by desire and, before I know it, I’m walking out of the store with a bag filled with new things.

Although some people can shop without feeling like they’ve gone and wasted their money on something they don’t necessarily need, I, on the other hand, always feel torn. I’m the kind of person who tries to spend their money on what's absolutely necessary when it comes to makeup and new clothes. If it’s over $25, I always stop to contemplate whether I really need it. And (if it’s not pants), I try to consider whether it’s something that can be found cheaper somewhere else.

It’s obvious that my heart and mind don’t coincide with each other when it comes to shopping. As a result, I experience a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from happiness to guilt. Here's what that looks like.

1. The "Oops—Did I Just Buy That?" Stage

Not even a few seconds have gone by before I'm frantically trying to understand how I let myself spend money on something that has no definitive purpose — besides being pretty. I don’t make enough money!

2. The "Ugh, I Can't Believe I Just Did That" Stage

Really? Another pair of shoes? C'mon. Because I couldn't have at least gone wild and bought something I don't already have *insert ridiculous number* of in my closet?

3. The "Wait, I Can Justify This" Stage

Well, all of my shoes are getting old/worn out/different from these. Another pair wouldn't hurt, right? It just gives me more choices!

4. The "What About The Other Bills I Have to Pay?" Stage

I attempt to do math in my head (which is always a bad idea) and try to crunch the numbers to see how I can make do with the rest of my paycheck. When's payday again?

5. The "I'm Just Being Young and Spontaneous!" Stage

"This is just who I am," I say to myself, "impulsive." Sure. Then, I proceed to repeat stages 2-5 over and over, in no particular order.

6. The "Help Me, Friends!" Stage

"So, I shouldn't keep it? Or what?" I switch back and forth between each conversation with my friends until I forget who was "pro" and who was "con." The result: I'm really just more lost than I was before!

7. The "I'm Being Seriously Absurd" Stage

I deserve new things! I don't always need a reason! Shopping really shouldn't be this hard. And then I run away before I over-think things and change my mind again.

Images: Andrey Kiselev/Fotolia; Giphy (8)