'Tis the season for shopping. And though traditionally this is a time of year when we tend to purchase gifts for others, I find it's also a time when I want to go shopping for myself. There are Black Friday sales, parties to attend and host, and newly cold weather to dress for. It all comes down to you needing more stuff.
But it's not always the best time to spend — there are just certain moments when you are in the completely wrong headset and should not step foot in a store or go online. Here are seven times when you need to steer clear of retail land.
1. When you are exhausted
Unless you absolutely need to grab something from the store, steer clear when you're on minimal sleep. When you are tired you are impatient and not thinking straight. This is how things like Gaucho pants get popular.
2. When you are hungry
This applies more to food shopping, but I believe that when you're really famished you're capable of buying anything. Research confirms that you tend to buy more (and more caloric) items when you are hungry — so hungry shopping could literally cause you to gain weight.
3. When you don't have a plan
There are perks to being spontaneous in life, but if you don't have a plan when you shop you could find yourself spending like Julia Robert's on Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman, without a dashing dude to foot the bill. Seriously, making a list or knowing what you are going to buy will help you just get that one thing.
4. When you are upset
Bad day at work? Fight with the boyfriend? Just feeling powerless? There is a quick fix for that. Go to a store and buy something. It gives you back the power, makes you feel in control (for a second), and you get to take home a treat. But you have to remember that this is a false sense of power. The job of a salesperson is to make you feel good. The colors in a store, the cheery music, and even the placement of the products are all working to stimulate your shopping instinct. Try to find ways to produce dopamine without spending all your dough.
5. When you have no cash
Credit cards can give you a false sense of your finances. As Rebecca Bloomwood said in Confessions of a Shopaholic, they are "magic cards." You don't feel how much money you are spending until later when you actually have to pay the bill. If you use more cold, hard cash, it'll feel more real when you give it away.
6. When you think you deserve a reward
Let's say you did something at work that you think deserves a reward so you go shopping. Pretty soon, you'll find yourself doing this every time you do something "good," and the urge to shop will become a Pavlovian-like response.
7. When you are drunk
This should be a no-brainer but alas, many people make this mistake. A few years ago there was a major drunk puppy buying problem in NYC's West Village. People who had had six too many drinks would buy a puppy cause they were cute and then wake up the next morning, realize what they had done and return the poor dog. And what about sitting down to go online shopping after a long night of boozing? According to a British study by the shopping-habits website Kelkoo, nearly half of all Brits have shopped online after drinking and most of them admit that in doing so, they spent more than they would have if sober. This will not help your hangover.