Frugal Fatigue, Impulse Spending Is At A Record High

Posted at 7:58 AM, Nov 05, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — After months of being unable to splurge on things like a vacation or even a night at the movies, experts say many Americans have hit a point of "frugal fatigue" and as Alicia Nieves shows us, the data is backing that up.

Most of us can’t go out like we used to but it isn’t stopping many from spending like they id before the pandemic, and some of us even more.

A news report shows impulse spending is at the highest ever. With store closures and in-person shopping concerns, many consumers have moved more of their spending online. On average: now spending 25% of their discretionary income there.

“When people are cooped up at home, there’s the tendency for impulse buying.” Greg McBride is the chief financial analyst at “I think the pandemic has moved us forward seven years in the last seven months in terms of certain trends particularly towards digital.

”While online shopping has been around for a long time, McBride explains, in the last seven months more retailers have gone online and those already there have invested significantly in making their shopping experience easier and more convenient. So, people could spend more and more often without the old buffer of getting in their car, driving, and browsing around their favorite stores. the old way that provided time to reconsider a purchase or how much to spend.

“The tendency for emotional or impulsive purchasing can be really devastating towards your financial goals and unwind a lot of progress you may have otherwise already made.”

A little impulse spending won’t hurt, but these numbers are concerning to some experts like McBride. “It’s really important to identify what is your trigger? is it sadness, is it boredom, is it keeping up with the Jones’? and then developing strategies that can distract you from that.”

Two simple strategies he has 1) don’t shop without a list (that goes for in store and online). 2) set a price and wait 24-hours to buy anything that costs more so that you have time to sleep on the financial impact of bigger purchases, especially now.

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