If we have a choice of companionship when it’s time to go shopping, we often choose friends with a like-minded attitude if we’re not with family. Women are encouraged to shop together for good reason – they’re unstoppable. Women take pride in carefully selecting goods and comparing. It can be a social occasion and emotional support to ensure just the right choices are made. Just like men are historically the “providers”, women are anthropologically the “nurturers and nesters”.
Never shop with a like-minded friend if you’re trying to save money.
- Good Friends: If you’re with someone completely compatible, you’ll shop longer. People who shop longer purchase more. According to Paco Underhill, retail anthropologist, in a national house wares chain study women shopping with another female companion spent over 8 minutes in the store.
- Opposites Attract: Like-minded friends won’t hold you to the task. You need someone who thinks about shopping and money differently from you. If you’re a spendthrift – find a tight budgeter. If you’re not creative about mixing and matching, find someone who can efficiently do it for you so you can move on.
- Men Are The Best: If you really want to be fast and decisive, and don’t mind a bit of stress, shop with a man. In the same national house wares study, the average time in the store when a woman shopped with a man was 4 minutes, 42 seconds. Men are fidgety and less patient. Shorter shopping time, less money spent.
Shopping used to be a necessity. Now it has become a national pastime in North America and stores spend millions to encourage people to spend more – through signs, sales, comfortable seating, loss leaders, etc. We have gently been lulled into accepting shopping as a national sport. To better manage our money, we need to realize this and watch our behaviors. Use shopping for what it is – a process for getting what you need; and surround yourself with people who will help you stay on track.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a web site for women focused on the psychology of money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Thoughts always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.