Impulse Buying Linked to Scent

San Diego Bargain Mama columnist Chelsea Day on Fox News

Columnist – Chelsea Day

Budget-Friendly in the Kitchen

Have you ever gone for coffee at Starbucks and ended up walking out with a few bakery treats as well? Perhaps you’ve been shopping at the mall and found yourself compelled to pick up a few Mrs. Fields’ cookies (even though you weren’t hungry). If this sounds familiar, you’re like millions of other shoppers who face delicious-smelling temptation every day.

Last week, I had the opportunity to represent San Diego Bargain Mama on a segment of Fox 5 news about a recent study that showed the scent of chocolate chip cookies increases women’s impulse buys. Reporter Heather Ford and I met at The Cookie Chew to discuss this temptation – and how to avoid it.

Here are my top tips for avoiding scent-driven impulse shopping:

Don’t shop hungry. I always try to eat before I shop, but I also carry different types of snacks with me (including something salty and something sweet) to stave off any sudden cravings so I don’t need to buy anything extra.

Apply a favorite perfume or cologne before you shop. This raises your dopamine levels and makes you feel satisfied so that other scents are less likely to trigger impulse buys.

Make a list and stick to it. Wandering aimlessly in the mall or grocery aisles without an agenda will inevitably lead to unnecessary purchases. Know what you’ve come to get and if you find that you’re straying from your list, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”

Set an “impulse buy” budget. If you really can’t resist buying an extra item or two, set a limit and bring cash in that exact amount. Shoppers are often more conscious of their purchases when they’re using cash as opposed to credit cards and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good!

Take along a good friend or spouse who will keep you in line. The buddy system can help keep you focused on what you came for and minimize the time you spend in the store. It also helps to set concrete plans for after shopping, so you have a time limit and shopping time doesn’t turn into socializing time.

Good luck with your holiday shopping and always remember: make a list, check it twice, and leave the cookies for Santa to enjoy!


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