By: Natasha Archary
Retail therapy has been a coping mechanism for many people going through a hard time. Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious or dealing with a heartbreak, spoiling yourself has been linked to self-care.
With the current economic climate pushing the cost of living up, the question is whether people still shop for therapy?
Almost 62% of shoppers feel better after they’ve bought something for themselves. Another 28% of people say they buy something when they are celebrating.
But the high cost of living, rising inflation, petrol increases and mounting bills often means people are living outside their means.
In order to still maintain a certain lifestyle and meet their spending requirements, a majority of South Africans rely on credit purchases.
Credit cards, buying clothing, furniture and other household items on credit, means you can splurge now and worry about paying later.
The lure of credit purchases is simply a tug on a buyer’s emotional response to wanting something. Offering customers the option of a 3-6 months interest free account is tempting.
People will often gravitate towards the offer and end up splurging more than they had in mind. What this translates to is that many people fall into debt because they cannot afford the monthly repayments which add up.
Retail stores say the purchase is interest free for a few months but there are other fees added to your balance which you’re not aware of.
So while retail therapy may sound like just the thing you need to get your mind off things, ask yourself if it’s a splurge buy you can afford.
With more South African households living on a budget just to make ends meet, living on credit does not make financial sense.
Spoiling yourself doesn’t mean breaking the bank
There’s nothing wrong with shopping to make yourself feel better. But if you’re making purchases to create happiness, then you may need to evaluate the deeper meaning.
The relationship between depression and shopping has always been there, which is why the term “retail therapy” came about. You feel better after a purchase because you have something new that you can’t wait to show off.
It’s a fleeting rush and once it wears off, you’re back to feeling the way you did before you swiped your card.
Shopping while depressed can also become compulsive behaviour and like an addiction, can become an uncontrollable urge to spend.
Retail therapy is a perk financially savvy people can afford right now, for the rest, the basics will have to do.
Listen to the conversation on Kaya Drive:
Also read: Meals on a budget