The Psychology of Bargain Shopping

Everybody loves a bargain, and there’s something uniquely satisfying about not only getting the product you’re after, but also getting it for a really low price. It turns out that our brain on bargains is something like euphoria. In fact, discount chains depend on our brains being in a constant state of euphoria, buying more and more things we really don’t need, simply because we can’t pass up a good sale. It seems that at some point, common sense should intervene and consumers should realize that it's not a good savings if they're buying something they weren’t in the market for – because even a discounted item costs more than the zero dollars that buying nothing costs. However, that’s just not how the human mind works. What we’re really hunting for is the thrill of the bargain, and retailers know that. They know how to turn up those competitive feelings in shoppers by limiting supply and creating a time clock. There’s a physiological response when we feel like we’ve won something, and it's called dopamine. That “feel good” chemical in our bodies causes us to want that feeling again and again, and it causes a lot of shopping errors. So, what can a consumer do? Experts say that moderation is the key. There's nothing wrong with bargain shopping, but only if consumers are getting a good price on an item they actually want. For those consumers who get too much of a rush from saving, they may end up spending far more than they ever intended. As contradictory as it may sound, experts recommend staying away from the bargain bin entirely, because even saving money can become an expensive habit if it gets out of hand.