With figures from the Bank of England recently showing a rise in consumers’ credit reliance, it begs the question as to what drives most of us to overspend on fashion.
The Power of Plastic- We live in a credit reliant world, where most of us have substituted plastic cards for paper money. You’re not actually feeling how much money you’re parting with when you use plastic! Unlike physically counting out the notes in cash from your purse then you feel how much you’re paying thus allowing you to be fully aware of the the sacrifice you’re making to get the desired item.
I mean come on! You have within your grasp for example, a visually stunning pair of red sole Louboutin heels which excites your senses and lights up your imagination. All you have to do is type in some purely abstract nominal numbers. Even if you are actually able to compute the amounts involved; the fact that it won’t be deducted till the end of the month puts off the consequences. Well it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out which option feels better. You can’t compare the instant gratification, being the immediate pleasure of owning those heels, with the expectation that there’ll be a deduction made in a few weeks time, when you receive that credit card statement. In fact when asked to predict their monthly credit card balance participants of a study overall underestimated it by 30%.
The Pleasure of the Purchase- And what does that pleasure of being the owner of a pair of Louboutin’s involve? Well for starters the shoe itself is recognisable worldwide, so it goes without saying that you’d be admired by passers-by. The shoe is associated with high status, so if wearing the shoe didn’t already make you feel good, and worthy the attention you’ll receive by others surely will. Depending on the status of your social group, your personality and your culture the shoe enables you to be a “peacock”, an attention seeker, the one the group envys, the one everyone wants to be! Or a “chameleon”, blending in, being like the rest of them, finally being accepted by them. Overspending on fashion is therefore simple and rewarding. Others feel good about you, and you feel good about yourself!
But the reality is, you can’t afford the shoes! What others see and think of you are merely perceptions, snap shots, illusions. The ending however won’t be as pleasurable and rewarding as the immediate reward, failing to consider the long term risks leads to a probable lifetime of debt. Something which is considered to be normal today. A study carried out in 2011 had shown that 18-27 year olds felt a greater sense of control over their life, in fact their debt correlated with higher levels of self-esteem. But that all changes once you realise how much and how long you’d be paying that money off!