Most shoppers have a "looking mode" and a "buying mode." Once they shift into the buying mode, they can do enormous damage.
"It’s a change in mindset," Dhar says. "You go from carefully weighing pros and cons to buying. You don’t stop to think. You get into a frenzied mindset. You start looking for things to buy."
[And a] utilitarian purchase, he says, apparently gives you the justification to do something fun. "Essentials drive momentum," he says.
To quote the study: "Shopping momentum arises from this reasonable idea that shopping has an inertial quality, that there is a hurdle to shift from browsing to shopping, which, once crossed, makes further purchases more likely."
Knowing this in advance, how can you constrain yourself? Leaving your credit cards at home might be too costly. Two alternatives are suggested:
1. Make your first purchase a guilty pleasure, not a necessity, thereby causing initial remorse to set in. In other words, take your indulgence up front.
2. Go to stores with multiple checkout counters and use them; customers tend to spend more when they can take all purchases to the same counter. Paying more than once tends to break momentum, and to focus your attention on the cost.
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Addendum: Here is the fixed link.