We all do it. We open a bag of Doritos, or a packet of Tim-Tams while watching TV and think, ‘I’ll just have one’.
Before we know it, we’ve eaten half the packet and think it’s better to just scoff the whole amount now that the damage is done.
If we resisted the urge to open the packet of chips or chocolate in the first place, we wouldn’t have had a problem.
Financial coach Rebecca Pritchard from Wealth Enhancers uses this analogy to describe how people use this behaviour not just with their snack of choice, but their spending habits.
“The Dorito effect”, as Pritchard has dubbed it, is when you totally lose control of your cash splurges and let your spending snowball.
It starts off with a spending binge, followed by a loss of control, she said.
“The words actually go through our heads, ‘I must spend more. I must finish the bag because that’s my strategy to stop me eating.'”
For millennials, social spending and travel are the biggest traps for splurging.
“Most of this is fuelled by credit. If your personal spending is attached to a debit card, you cant ‘tap, tap, tap’ because you’ll get a decline at some point. Whereas if you have a credit card, it’s easy, it’s facilitated by this.”
Tips to stop overspending
Self-awareness is the first step to stop the Dorito Effect from sabotaging your finances, Pritchard said.
- Identify your goals
- List your traps getting in the way.
- Identify your self-protection mechanisms.
And if you are guilty of a few too many cash splurges, Pritchard says it’s never too late to get back on track.
“Yes, you ate everything on the menu for breakfast, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a bad lunch and a bad dinner. You can salvage things,” she said.