When I made the post about credit card condoms earlier, I received a couple of emails telling me basically it was a “stupid gimmick” that was of little use. While it may appear to be so to some and certainly isn’t for everyone, for some people it does actually work. An email I received today:
I wanted to thank you for providing the free credit card condom. I have always been one to impulse shop and then regret buying the things afterward. I printed out the credit card condom and it has kept me from buying a number of things that I would have had I not been reminded that I really didn’t need it…
Thank you – Jennifer P.
A recent Money Magazine article gives a little insight as to why it seems to work:
Pulling out a credit card can trigger the same rush as a new love affair. “Shoppers can get so caught up in the sensory experience of shopping that they lose track of reality,” says Ron Faber, a University of Minnesota specialist in compulsive shopping. But like many love affairs, it doesn’t last.
A recent Stanford study found that shoppers who came up with some mental trick that helped them snap out of it reduced impulse purchases, the kind most people regret.
Make a list of what you’ll buy and how much you plan to spend, and if you find yourself approaching the register saying, “Ah, what the hell,” count to 10. Or step outside. Call your spouse. Whatever works.
The credit card condom falls under the heading of “whatever works” – just a small reminder to consider whether you really need the item or not which is often enough to show you that you don’t.