How Your Last Name Predicts Your Shopping Habits

Laura Shin
Posted

Woman browsing through clothes in storeYes, you inherit money habits from your family.

But not just in the way you think. It turns out that your last name might be a predictor of your shopping impulses.

A recent fascinating study showed that you’re more likely to impulse buy if your last name begins with a letter late in the alphabet.

Researchers surmise that the cause of this is our educational system’s emphasis on alphabetical order, from roll call to lining up for recess to classroom seating. To compensate for a lifetime of waiting or sitting in the back, people who were alphabetically challenged as children are more likely to impulse spend as adults. According to various studies, they are more likely to seize on opportunities billed as “limited time only” or “while supplies last.”

Researchers Kurt Carlson of Georgetown Business School and Jacqueline Conard of Belmont University Business School found that:

  • Students with last names from R through Z were 22% quicker to jump on an offer of free basketball tickets than those with last names from A through I.
  • Adults were asked to complete an online survey for a 1 in 500 chance to win $500. The Zeiglers and their compatriots were more likely to grab the opportunity and did so more quickly than did the Abbotts and their cohort.
  • End of the alphabet sufferers would even spend 15 minutes to go home and get their wallet in order to save 20% on a backpack “while supplies last.”

Even marrying into an earlier-in-the-alphabet surname doesn’t reverse the curse of what is called the “last-name effect.” It’s your childhood, not adult, last name that foretells your shopping impulses.

Pick a friend who is a savvy, frugal shopper—or at least, whose last name begins with A—to call when you feel the impulse to splurge.

Whether your last name is Zillman or Abalone and this effect applies to you, these studies illustrate a powerful point: having to wait or being denied premium opportunities as a child can give you a tendency toward impulsive spending urges as an adult. In addition, perhaps what is perceived as unfairly or arbitrarily waiting compared to peers might create a sense that you must grab at opportunities or good things will pass you by.

And these impulsive spending urges make responsible financial planning as an adult much more challenging.

These studies are disturbing enough for us to call for education reform immediately so that teachers spend equal time using the reverse alphabet to organize the classroom–and it certainly gives us pause in considering how repeated denial in general may play out later in our children’s spending habits.

To counteract unintentional behaviors, last name-related or not, follow these four tips to make sure you aren’t distracted by “special” deals.

1. Ask Yourself If This Purchase Is in Line With Your Financial Goals

You see a leather jacket in the exact style you want, and it’s 50% off. But even with the discount, it’s $300—a good chunk of what you need for your upcoming vacation in Brazil. To stay on track, put visual reminders of your goals everywhere—and always ask yourself whether you can afford it, not whether it’s a deal.

2. Find a Spending Buddy

Pick a friend who is a savvy, frugal shopper—or at least, whose last name begins with A—to call when you feel the impulse to splurge. They will help you think through whether the deal is as good as it seems, where you might be able to score a better bargain and whether you actually want the item.

3. Track Your Spending

Logging your expenses makes you more aware of all your emotional spending habits. You’ll see quickly how your impulse purchases add up, and how much money you could free up for your most important goals if you gain control over big and small shopping binges.

4. Create a Rule of Thumb

If you set up a hard and fast rule about spending, you’re less likely to break it. Make it personal and specific–maybe it’s “Take two days to think over all purchases of $100 or more,” or “No online sample sales,” or “No jeans more than $75.” Make it a standard that addresses your own personal spending patterns, and change it up every few months as you conquer your bad habits.

An additional suggestion: If you’re a woman, don’t marry a Zelnick. Just kidding. Or at least seriously consider the hyphenated name hybrid to give your kid a bump in the classroom.

TELL US: Childhood is a powerful, oft-forgotten foundation for so many of our adult habits. Does the “last-name effect” ring true for you and your finances?

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I call bull. My last name starts with “R” and I am a champion of delayed gratification. Maybe I’m just an odd exception to the rule, and it may be influenced by some very early lessons in money management, but I’m not usually much of an impulse buyer – if anything I overthink even the smallest of purchases. (I’ve been known to spend 15+ minutes staring at a vending machine trying to figure out the best possible use of 75 cents.)

    It’s probably because when I was little my parents would never buy toys for me “just because.” I could either ask for something I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, or else I had to save up my $1/week allowance and buy it myself. So even as a 5-year-old I was forced to think long and hard about whether an impulse buy was worth my money. So maybe I’m just evidence that this effect can be countered by one’s parents not giving in to childish demands for instant gratification??

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • Colleen M.

    Very interesting study. As a gal right in the middle of the alphabet, starting with “M,” I can’t say that my last name has really affected my spending. I will say, as the youngest of 5 who often got hand-me-downs and had to wait patiently while her older siblings went ahead in new clothes or life experiences, I think that sibling order could also affect spending habits and impulse buying. (I’ve reigned it in since my younger years.).

    Very interesting article!

  • research?

    this is terrible science. WHERE is the reference for the study? HOW big was the sample size? WHAT were the measures used?
    no serious research makes claims like ‘”End of the alphabet sufferers”
    or draws such broad conclusions such as “these studies illustrate a powerful point: having to wait or being denied premium opportunities as a child can give you a tendency toward impulsive spending urges as an adult.” without backing this conclusion with the study itself.

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

    • Laura

      Hi,

      The experiments didn’t all have the same sample size. They ranged from 41 to 280. But they did all analyze whether or not someone grabbed the offer and how quickly, and they found that people with last names that start with letters later in the alphabet were more likely to respond, and quicker to do so.

      You’re right that the researchers didn’t prove the cause of the last-name effect. They speculated that was a reason. You can read more about the studies here:
      http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045050,00.html?artId=2045050?contType=article?chn=bizTech

      Laura

  • research?

    this is terrible science. WHERE is the reference for the study? HOW big was the sample size? WHAT were the measures used?
    no serious research makes claims like ‘”End of the alphabet sufferers”
    or draws such broad conclusions such as “these studies illustrate a powerful point: having to wait or being denied premium opportunities as a child can give you a tendency toward impulsive spending urges as an adult.” without backing this conclusion with the study itself.

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • Liz

    I’m having a hard time believing this. What journal was it published in?

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    I AGREE!!! My last name starts with “win” this puts me behind all the variations of Williams in the alphabet. I have been stating this whole my whole life, how I can’t wait to get married and move up in the alphabet. This may have more linked effect with personality and last name because I am Type A and more anxious especially when I was a child and having to wait for a test grade, recess, or lunch was just painful! Especially in college when I had a Chem 101 class with 100 people and she distributed tests back alphabetically. Waiting to get my test would sometimes make me late for my next class. I track my spending habits and I am impulsive with my unnecessary shopping, my friends laugh at it but I now have learned to budget it in. Thanks for the affirmation of what I have known my whole life!

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    I AGREE!!! My last name starts with “win” this puts me behind all the variations of Williams in the alphabet. I have been stating this whole my whole life, how I can’t wait to get married and move up in the alphabet. This may have more linked effect with personality and last name because I am Type A and more anxious especially when I was a child and having to wait for a test grade, recess, or lunch was just painful! Especially in college when I had a Chem 101 class with 100 people and she distributed tests back alphabetically. Waiting to get my test would sometimes make me late for my next class. I track my spending habits and I am impulsive with my unnecessary shopping, my friends laugh at it but I now have learned to budget it in. Thanks for the affirmation of what I have known my whole life!

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    I AGREE!!! My last name starts with “win” this puts me behind all the variations of Williams in the alphabet. I have been stating this whole my whole life, how I can’t wait to get married and move up in the alphabet. This may have more linked effect with personality and last name because I am Type A and more anxious especially when I was a child and having to wait for a test grade, recess, or lunch was just painful! Especially in college when I had a Chem 101 class with 100 people and she distributed tests back alphabetically. Waiting to get my test would sometimes make me late for my next class. I track my spending habits and I am impulsive with my unnecessary shopping, my friends laugh at it but I now have learned to budget it in. Thanks for the affirmation of what I have known my whole life!

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    I AGREE!!! My last name starts with “win” this puts me behind all the variations of Williams in the alphabet. I have been stating this whole my whole life, how I can’t wait to get married and move up in the alphabet. This may have more linked effect with personality and last name because I am Type A and more anxious especially when I was a child and having to wait for a test grade, recess, or lunch was just painful! Especially in college when I had a Chem 101 class with 100 people and she distributed tests back alphabetically. Waiting to get my test would sometimes make me late for my next class. I track my spending habits and I am impulsive with my unnecessary shopping, my friends laugh at it but I now have learned to budget it in. Thanks for the affirmation of what I have known my whole life!

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    I AGREE!!! My last name starts with “win” this puts me behind all the variations of Williams in the alphabet. I have been stating this whole my whole life, how I can’t wait to get married and move up in the alphabet. This may have more linked effect with personality and last name because I am Type A and more anxious especially when I was a child and having to wait for a test grade, recess, or lunch was just painful! Especially in college when I had a Chem 101 class with 100 people and she distributed tests back alphabetically. Waiting to get my test would sometimes make me late for my next class. I track my spending habits and I am impulsive with my unnecessary shopping, my friends laugh at it but I now have learned to budget it in. Thanks for the affirmation of what I have known my whole life!

  • Maddie

    Interesting study.

    But what about those who have *two* last names that screws everybody up? :P I have two last names, but my first one starts right at the very beginning. I doubt I’m less of an impulse shopper just because of my name. I think it’s probably because I grew up not having much spending money at all, so I learned to wait until I had the money and had had the time to think over whether or not it was worth it. I will say that having money is more of a temptation to cause me to buy impulsively. The irony. :P

    • Julie

      Hahaha that’s a good observation. I have two last names as well. Wonder which one counts? Or is it a mixed “spending” personality thing? :P

  • Maddie

    Interesting study.

    But what about those who have *two* last names that screws everybody up? :P I have two last names, but my first one starts right at the very beginning. I doubt I’m less of an impulse shopper just because of my name. I think it’s probably because I grew up not having much spending money at all, so I learned to wait until I had the money and had had the time to think over whether or not it was worth it. I will say that having money is more of a temptation to cause me to buy impulsively. The irony. :P

  • Maddie

    Interesting study.

    But what about those who have *two* last names that screws everybody up? :P I have two last names, but my first one starts right at the very beginning. I doubt I’m less of an impulse shopper just because of my name. I think it’s probably because I grew up not having much spending money at all, so I learned to wait until I had the money and had had the time to think over whether or not it was worth it. I will say that having money is more of a temptation to cause me to buy impulsively. The irony. :P

  • JackieAU5

    This is a rediculous notion…I don’t buy it either. My last name starts with A and I’m not that frugal. I’m working on it (:

  • JackieAU5

    This is a rediculous notion…I don’t buy it either. My last name starts with A and I’m not that frugal. I’m working on it (:

  • JackieAU5

    This is a rediculous notion…I don’t buy it either. My last name starts with A and I’m not that frugal. I’m working on it (:

  • JackieAU5

    This is a rediculous notion…I don’t buy it either. My last name starts with A and I’m not that frugal. I’m working on it (:

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IMTEGSS7PNQVIPJIS7DUZ4YASI wendiewang

    my hard and fast rule for awhile was “if i cant wear it to work, i wouldn’t buy it” :)

  • http://neatfreakwannabe.blogspot.com Jenna

    You shouldn’t totally dismiss the research just because you don’t think you match the “average” behavior for the group. For example, it didn’t state that 100% of the time people with R – Z last names were more likely to impulse buy, only 22% of the time. Some people would be below 22%, and some would be above that. I think there are definitely other environmental factors at play to determine where you would fall on the spectrum, but you can’t just throw out the study by looking at one dissenting example. In fact, someone commented that she fits the profile, but this doesn’t necessarily prove it is true either. Not every study comes out with concrete causes and effects – many are just like this and simply report their findings and then they have to speculate on the causes until further research can find something more concrete.

    Thanks for sharing this study – I probably wouldn’t have heard about it otherwise, and it was an interesting read!

  • Meg

    This is inane. The basic rule of thumb about these types of studies is that “statistics lie.” The authors could have taken any sample of participants and repeated the tests until they got the results they wanted.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less if someone offered me free basketball tickets, and it doesn’t matter if my name were Able or Zimmer. I don’t like basketball. So, that response doesn’t match their theory. In order for them to confirm their theory, they would have had to have a group of participants who ALL liked basketball, AND were available to go to that particular game.

    • AW

      The good news is, all studies have outliers. Studies such as this particular one are designed to highlight trends. If you step back from your own experience you’ll see that the trend itself makes a lot of sense. I think many people here concur.

  • Anonymous

    As a ‘V” i definitely remember the anxiety of always being last. Reverse alphabet was my favorite. Think this is an interesting study and clearly getting some thought traction here. I think the point from Colleen about being the youngest child makes a ton of sense too. Thanks for sharing.

  • a W.

    I was born a “P”. And married a “W”. Can’t tell you how many time we’ve had to wait to get things ‘cuz we’re a “W”. We even joke about it as a family, cuz we live across from “C”and next to an “H”. Does it impact our spending habits? I love a bargain, but it aint no bargain if you don’t need it/wear it/love it/afford it.

  • Wendy

    This holds true for first names too. My teachers lined us up by our first names. Mine starts with a W, so I always felt like I was going to miss out on something. This explains a lot :-)

  • Sofi

    I think everyone should keep in mind this should be interpreted strictly as a correlation, meaning there is a relationship, just not one of cause and effect that has been demonstrated. When you begin to consider family dynamics and social constructs, as well as individual personality characteristics, it’s really too simplistic to attribute spending habits to the first letter of your last name.

  • Sheila

    This cracks me up. Who comes up with the ideas for studies like this?

  • nina

    I think it makes sense as a “T” I was often left for last infact with only 1 or 2 behind me. I think so much of our lives are defined by what we feel we are entitled to not what we are willing to work towards. Knowledge of where some impulse might come from is interesting to learn about.

  • nina

    I think it makes sense as a “T” I was often left for last infact with only 1 or 2 behind me. I think so much of our lives are defined by what we feel we are entitled to not what we are willing to work towards. Knowledge of where some impulse might come from is interesting to learn about.

  • Mary

    I haven’t read all the comments, but if this piqued your interest as it did mine, one of the most fascinating books I have read on the subject recently is Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” The standardization of role-call from A-Z is not unlike cut-off dates by birth for youth hockey leagues- it assigns you a place to begin from, and you’re either first, last or somewhere in the middle. It’s helpful to try to understand your own behaviors from many angles in order to change or mitigate behaviors that do not serve you- in this case overspending, impulse shopping or clamoring for a deal that isn’t really a deal.

    Even if this study doesn’t seemingly apply to you, the knowledge that this *may* be a possibility for anxiety brings a certain consciousness to spending, achieving goals, etc. This is just a foray into uncovering any ideas or practices thought of as normal or mundane, including other social constructs, that may have an affect on your decisions to spend in a certain way.

    Companies spend so much time and energy figuring out what makes you tick, and most (not all) marketing campaigns aim to play into your fears, whatever they may be. Many of these fears and anxieties (even if you don’t label them as such) stem from some aspect of childhood. Anyone who has something to sell has incentive to come up with both the idea and the funding to do these types of studies- and some even more obscure- because most of your spending has emotion attached to it. Understanding how to get you to part with a dollar/euro/yen is big business. So the best defense is to beat them to it. Figure out what drives you and be aware of it when buying anything from product to service.

  • Mary

    I haven’t read all the comments, but if this piqued your interest as it did mine, one of the most fascinating books I have read on the subject recently is Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” The standardization of role-call from A-Z is not unlike cut-off dates by birth for youth hockey leagues- it assigns you a place to begin from, and you’re either first, last or somewhere in the middle. It’s helpful to try to understand your own behaviors from many angles in order to change or mitigate behaviors that do not serve you- in this case overspending, impulse shopping or clamoring for a deal that isn’t really a deal.

    Even if this study doesn’t seemingly apply to you, the knowledge that this *may* be a possibility for anxiety brings a certain consciousness to spending, achieving goals, etc. This is just a foray into uncovering any ideas or practices thought of as normal or mundane, including other social constructs, that may have an affect on your decisions to spend in a certain way.

    Companies spend so much time and energy figuring out what makes you tick, and most (not all) marketing campaigns aim to play into your fears, whatever they may be. Many of these fears and anxieties (even if you don’t label them as such) stem from some aspect of childhood. Anyone who has something to sell has incentive to come up with both the idea and the funding to do these types of studies- and some even more obscure- because most of your spending has emotion attached to it. Understanding how to get you to part with a dollar/euro/yen is big business. So the best defense is to beat them to it. Figure out what drives you and be aware of it when buying anything from product to service.

  • RICHARDSDAUGHTER

    Lighten Up people!  This was fun, who cares about the science behind this study.  I appreciate the work that went into this study. Science or not, it is true of me. I first said no way , my last name is “G”, then I realized that is my married name, my given name is “V” and I am impulsive a shopper that ever lived. I buy when I am happy, sad, on sale or not, I like to buy.  I am not rich but I do take care of my financial responsiblities.  Anyway, I can now tell my husband it is not my fault, I was born into this……….  :)