Shopping Triggers and How to Curb Them: Sense of Entitlement

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Watching TV last night got me thinking about how our entire society is built around this shopping trigger. TV and radio ads, magazines and catalogues all scream to us: you deserve this, you’re worth it, treat yourself! This is because savvy advertisers know that creating a sense of entitlement is one of the most potent ways to get consumers to cough up the dough.

It is so easy, when exposed to those ads, to start thinking that “hey, that’s right, I did pass that exam/meet that deadline/suffer through that nasty flu/put up with the in-laws staying at my house for a full week, I do deserve a little something.” The problem is, none of those things did anything to change your budget, so when you treat yourself, you have to either find another place to cut, or get (further) into debt.

The best way to curb this is to tell yourself, whenever overcome with this sense of entitlement, that if there is anything you deserve, it is to have your finances in order. If you need to repeat it over and over again, fine – let it be your personal affirmation. After all, what outfit/cosmetic product/trip/new high tech gizmo could possibly make you feel better than true financial security?

Check out the other articles in our series on Shopping Triggers.

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