Money & Career

How 'retail therapy' can cost you thousands a year

I have a closet full of regrets. There’s the $200 shoes that I’ve only worn three times (they hurt!). There’s the $40 jacket that looked great on the website, but looked cheap in person — I’ve never worn it. I have dozens of purchases tucked away in my closet that I bought without thinking, usually because I was bored or feeling low and just needed some "retail therapy".

woman sad in shopping cart bags

Masterfile

I have a closet full of regrets. There’s the $200 shoes that I’ve only worn three times (they hurt!). There’s the $40 jacket that looked great on the website, but looked cheap in person — I’ve never worn it. I have dozens of purchases tucked away in my closet that I bought without thinking, usually because I was bored or feeling low and just needed some retail therapy.

The bad news is that I’m not alone. According to the Bank of Montreal, Canadians spend a whopping $3,720 on impulse purchases we think will make us feel better. Those quick pick-me-ups have cost us thousands a year with clothes, shoes and dining out being the more common purchases. Contrary to stereotype, it’s actually men who do more of the spending — about double the amount women spend.
Here are a few more points from the findings:

– nearly half who were surveyed said they regret making the purchase later on
– nearly half spend more than they earn in a month
– a quarter of those surveyed said they weren’t able to afford items they actually need because their money was already spent on impulse purchases

Canadians have some of the highest debt levels in the world (we owe $1.52 for every buck we earn), yet we spend over $300 a month buying stuff just to cheer us up. So while it may have been fun to go shopping at the time, it’s certainly not fun wasting our hard-earned money or being in debt.

So forget retail therapy. Next time you’re feeling down, stay away from the shops and remember that there are other ways to lift your spirit, like listening to uplifting music or reading a good book. Filling your home with useless items will just drag you down financially — and eventually emotionally.

How often do you impulse shop? Are there any items that you’ve never used?