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You might think that being tempted into buying yourself little treats is harmless – spending a few pounds here and there is hardly going to break the bank. However, recent research conducted for us* found that one in seven Brits will spend up to £100 on an unplanned purchase.

Women were more likely than men to buy on a whim, with just one in 11 female respondents saying they never impulse buy, compared to one in nine guys. However, when men were tempted to splash their cash, they were more likely to spend big, with more than a sixth admitting that they’d pay up to £100 for unplanned items, while just one in 10 women said the same.

If you frequently spend large amounts on items you hadn’t budgeted for, you could find that you’re using up your funds faster than you might think.

Burning the midnight oil

The time at which we shop could be influencing our desire to buy. According to a survey for John Lewis, there has been a 30% increase in online shopping between midnight and 6am. A major reason for this is the change in technology over the last few years – mainly the rise in popularity of tablets.

It’s easy to shop from the comfort of your bed via a tablet, and browsing online at night could mean that you’re more susceptible to buying. If you’re trying to limit your impulse spending, switch the tablet off before you get into bed.

FOMO and buyers’ remorse

Another reason that you might be spending a lot of money on impulse is because of peer pressure. We can all be guilty of trying to keep up with the Joneses, and if your friends have all got the newest smartphone or latest high-end games console, you could be influenced to do the same on the spur of the moment so you don’t feel left out. Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is an anxiety that usually relates to the worry that we are missing out on social events by not attending, but it can also be linked to spending on physical items too.

However, if you spend more than you know you should, you could feel buyers’ remorse. This is when you feel guilty for buying something that you know you didn’t really want or need, and worrying that you could have wasted your money. When you’re next tempted to spend cash on something just because your friends have it, think about how much better you’ll feel later, knowing you haven’t thrown your money away.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24Th July and 31st July 2014, of whom 620 were Scottish residents.

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