I have a family member who loves buying stuff. Most of what she buys, though, is not for herself, and she does have an amazing knack for purchasing great gifts for others. Her house has rooms filled with unused and unopened gifts and cupboards with unworn clothes that still have the labels on.

Her actions make me wonder if she suffers from the “power of the purchase”. This same woman has been married four times. Perhaps she enjoys the idea of having someone or something new in her life and when it’s not so new, she wants to move on to someone or something that is.

I realised a while back that I love buying two of most things. For some reason, if I find something I like, I buy two of that item. It may be a different colour, but other than that, it’s the same.

My husband loves the rush of starting a new job. In the 14 years I’ve known him, he’s had eight different jobs that have taken us across the world to Dubai, South Africa, and the UK. I’m not complaining about him wanting to improve himself, and I’ve loved getting a glimpse of different cultures, but I am hoping he’ll stay in his current job for a long time. Perhaps you know those who love instantly having the very latest phone or gadget and in some countries, it’s quite common to upgrade to a new car at least every two to three years.

Psychologist Ian Zimmerman, Ph.D, suggests that everyone behaves impulsively now and then, and a certain amount of impulse buying can be harmless. However, an excessive level can lead to debt and unhappiness, so it’s helpful knowing the warning signs. If you often spend money without really thinking about what you’re buying or why you’re buying it, you may have an impulse buying tendency. If you get a lot of enjoyment from shopping or you shop when you feel down, you may be buying as a way of experiencing pleasure and you’re probably buying a lot of products on impulse.

An easy way to tell if a purchase is impulsive is to ask: “Did I plan to buy this, or did I get the urge to buy it just now?” If you didn’t plan to buy it, you’re probably experiencing an impulse buying urge. If you delay your gratification and refuse to purchase the item in that moment, you’ll not only get to keep more of your money, but you’ll also become a smarter consumer and possibly a happier person!

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