In the second installment on our series on Staying on Track and Avoiding Temptation, we’re taking a closer look at how shopping under the influence can derail your Financial Freedom. If you missed the first article in this series, you can find it here.
It’s Friday, it’s 1 a.m., you’re alone and you’ve had a couple of drinks. You’ve entered the danger zone.
No, we’re not talking about your social life. We’re talking about the danger zone where buying a deluxe $200 pasta maker on Amazon seems like absolutely the best decision you’ve ever made. Even if your biweekly allowance for discretionary spending won’t cover it. Because casually perusing gourmet kitchen items online, in the relaxed, judgment-free environment of your own home makes buying much too easy.
That’s why, perhaps unsurprisingly, shopping and drinking, has become so much more common. As many as one out of three Americans admit to shopping while under the influence, according to one study. Shopping under the influence does happen in retail settings. There’s also home-based jewelry or tupperware wine-and-cheese “parties.” But the Internet gives us unprecedented access to browse, and purchase, everything from gourmet kitchenware to six-figure designer handbags. Don’t believe us? The evidence is here, here and here!
But what about when the buzz wears off? You might find yourself in a spending hangover that derails your carefully laid financial plans, or takes weeks or months to correct.
The Growth of Drunk Shopping
Alcohol is a depressant. So from the moment you take your first sip of alcohol, three areas of your brain are impacted: the cerebral cortex (the problem-solving center), the cerebellum (which controls movement) and the limbic system (which controls feelings).
Retailers know this. They often egg consumers on to imbibe more and purchase more. Case in point: A growing number of department stores have added bars on premises, and television home shopping networks are notorious for targeting the after-dinner crowd with enticing purchase opportunities.
But the Internet is the most dangerous domain of all. Alcohol suppresses your ability to think rationally. The Internet allows you to buy something quickly. So a couple of cocktails—or anything mind altering, really—can derail your Financial Freedom.
Protecting Your Financial Freedom … from the Inebriated Version of Yourself
Marisa Torrieri is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer specializing in personal finance, business, healthcare and technology. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and resides in Fairfield, CT. Her work has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including LearnVest, Forbes, The Washington Post, Business Insider, TIME and Health.com.