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Why it's so hard to say 'no' while shopping despite our better judgement

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A consumer expert says it's hard to resist overspending while shopping because people purchase items as a form of self-expression. Therefore, when we feel that an item or brand reflects who we are, we are more likely to buy it despite our better judgement. Photo by Getty Images
A consumer expert says it's hard to resist overspending while shopping because people purchase items as a form of self-expression. Therefore, when we feel that an item or brand reflects who we are, we are more likely to buy it despite our better judgement. Photo by Getty Images

Even though it was four years ago, Emma, 27, still regrets the time she dropped a week's pay on a designer jacket. "I'd just moved to a new city and was trying to move up the ladder at work. So when winter rolled around, I decided that a well tailored blazer would make a good impression in the office."

Seduced by a shop that appealed to all of her girlie, retro sensibilities - and none of her functional, corporate aspirations - Emma ended up buying a blue coat with spots and sparkly buttons. It went with nothing in her wardrobe and was completely inappropriate for her workplace. It would've been okay if it were a cheap and cheerful purchase, but it meant she'd be eating two-minute noodles until the next pay day.

So why did she hand over her cash? "I just fell in love with the décor of the shop, the old-school music, the beautiful sales girls. I remember thinking, 'Wow, this place gets me'. So I dropped thousands on a jacket I've worn twice in my life," she says, smiling in embarrassment.

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