Love it or hate it, it's that time of the year when just about everyone will find themselves competing for bargains and searching for the perfect gift. Call it the big game season of shopping. Just as athletes prepare mentally and physically for the big game, so should you. Here are five tips to achieve peak performance shopping.
When you're thirsty, you're likely to be more irritable. But that's not all, thirst contributes to confusion and fatigue -- not the best mental state to be in when you're spending money. Stay sharp by drinking water.
Impulse purchases are the number one budget breaker. When you're hungry, you're more vulnerable to impulsive behaviors of all sorts. Eat protein, in particular, to help reduce impulsive buying and stay in control.
Cool Down - Emotionally
Crowds, competition, time pressure and noise fire up our autonomic nervous system. When that happens, the body drains resources from the brain. Rational thinking suffers as a result. Worse yet, it turns out that we're not great at pinpointing the source of our bodies excited reaction. That means we can misinterpret a heart-thumping reaction to a pushy crowd to mean desire for a product. The antidote is time -- it takes about 20 minutes to cool down, so wait that long before you buy.
We instinctively use nearby comparisons to determine the value of products. For example, if we see three things in a row that are $10, when we see something similar that's $5, we'll think it's a good value. That's not always the case. Retailers sometimes strategically position higher priced items nearby because they know this principle works. The same is true for sales. We assume a sale product is "worth" its regular price and so the sale price must be a value. The best bet is to research prices beforehand and go into a store with your own reference points.
Research shows that after we cross the mental threshold of our first purchase, the rest come easier. And it's often the add-on purchases, such as stocking-stuffers or a matching accessory, that add up to budget disasters. Try to mentally calculate each purchase as if it's your first.
If you've ever gone over budget, purchased a gift you later regretted or impulsively purchased a $25 Christmas tree ornament, you're not alone. Shopping under pressure is rife with physical and mental landmines. Follow these five tips for a performance edge in shopping.