If you want to spend less when you go shopping, then don't go alone. A new Canadian study finds taking a family member or a friend shopping with you can help to keep you from making impulse purchases because solo shoppers tend to have lower inhibitions.
"When you're shopping by yourself you go on automatic pilot and when people function in the part of their brain that is on automatic pilot they don't check themselves much. So, what they're finding is that there are more impulse purchases," explained Dr. Joe Rock, who did not take part in the study but is a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers in Montreal studied more than a thousand shoppers at two different malls. They found the presence of a shopping pal drew the shopper away from their normal tendencies and often triggered feelings of apprehension about a purchase.
It may even create a feeling of competition or comparison, causing the shopper to worry about what their friend might think of their purchases. On the other hand, solo shoppers are more likely to have lower inhibitions and make impulse purchases. They may even lie about what they bought to others.
Rock says if given the choice, you should shop with a buddy for reasons that go beyond what you buy.
"They say it activates you. It gets you more alert, it gets you more excited, it gets you more into the experience. Plus, if you're with somebody you like the whole experience gets a positive glow to it, which makes everything better. You're more happy with what you buy, you're more happy with where you buy it," Rock said.