As the world marks the first anniversary of the credit crunch, a new survey has revealed that astonishingly, many people enjoy shopping even more now than they did a year ago.
However, the survey of more than 2000 UK adults by Yorkshire Bank/Clydesdale Bank has discovered that the ‘spend now, pay later’ culture associated with cheap, easily-available credit has changed. More people are enjoying the satisfaction of ‘saving now, buying later’. A whopping 77% of Brits agree that paying for a high-value item is more satisfying when they have saved for it, than when purchased spontaneously using borrowed money. What’s more, 84% of people cherish or enjoy items that they have saved for more than items purchased spontaneously with borrowings.
Psychological expert Phillip Hodson explains that paradoxically people are often happier in times of austerity. “You would assume we all prefer instant gratification to the perceived pain of waiting to fork out in full for a summer holiday or new TV. But more generally the opposite is true. It is a well known psychological trait that delayed gratification can generate a deeper sense of happiness - we might call it ‘saver satisfaction’ or the ‘joy of thrift’ – than buying on whim. Yearning makes the heart grow fonder.
“Most big item purchases like cars and fancy music systems lose their novelty fairly quickly, even more so if they go wrong. But items which we have dreamed of being able to own for a long period create a stronger emotional bond which is much more difficult to break. Even if the purchase was less than a bargain we remain invested in it. The sense of achievement that comes from the discipline of saving also makes us feel morally stronger and in greater control”.
The credit crunch has certainly been felt by UK consumers: 73% of people surveyed agree that they are more careful with their money now compared to 12 months ago. 50% of consumers say that they are more likely to save their disposable income before purchasing a high-value item than they were 12 months ago.
Gary Lumby, Head of Retail Banking at Yorkshire Bank comments: “It seems people are finding that a more prudent approach to managing their finances brings greater rewards and satisfaction than the days of cheap credit and ‘buy now pay later’. The current market conditions are great for savers, so we’re encouraging our customers to look at the many savings options which offer generous interest rates.
“As an extra incentive, we now know conclusively that shopping is so much more satisfying if people save up for high-value items.”
Items people are more likely to save up for which would have previously been purchased with borrowed money include holidays, a new TV or a car. However, we have found that clothes, shoes and electronic goods like computer games are still bought as spontaneous purchases with borrowed money. Shoppers view these items as little treats and they encompass less guilt factor than the more expensive items.
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