SURVEY: Is Shopping Alone Better for Your Budget?

Family Finances ordering food on mobile phone

You might think shopping alone saves you money, but it may be costing you more. Our survey reveals that when there’s no one there to peer pressure you, you may be your budget’s worst enemy on or offline. In fact, we found that 29 percent of shoppers admit spending more when shopping alone. 

We surveyed 1,500 Americans to see who spends more when shopping with others, and who is most likely to influence a shopper’s spending habits. 

We found that: 

  • 29 percent are more likely to spend more when shopping alone
  • One-third of women admitted spending more shopping alone, compared to 24 percent of men
  • 25 percent of shoppers have felt pressured by others to overspend

Women Are More Likely than Men to Overspend By Themselves 

Americans overspend by roughly $7,400 a year, even though 74 percent say they have a budget in place. Of those who budget, 79 percent of people still overspend. Are these overspending habits sparked by those around you, or a result of your own purchasing desires?

women spend more shopping alone

Our survey revealed that 33 percent of women spend more when shopping alone, versus 24 percent of men. In the age of COVID-19, most shopping has gone virtual. On average, 53 percent of those that regularly shop online do so using their smartphones. With one-click buys and online shopping heightening while spending more time at home, this could have a heavy impact on your budget. 

Shoppers Feel Most Pressured by Kids and Partners

We also found that 25 percent of shoppers have felt pressured by others to spend money on things they don’t need. Of those, kids and partners were the key influencers. Our results show 14 percent of Americans feel heavily influenced by their children. Among those, 59 percent are women. 

family influences spending survey

With back-to-school season rolling around, now is a great time to set your shopping budget and your children’s expectations to avoid overspending. Back-to-school shopping costs, on average, $519 per student with clothing and accessories accounting for half. 

Twelve percent of Americans feel influenced by their significant other to overspend. It’s likely that fancy dinners and weekend getaways can quickly add up. One way to cut down on your spending as a couple is to opt for cooking dinner at home, which could save you up to $2,784 a year on restaurant tabs.

Takeout Food is the Top Temptation

Whether you frequently shop alone or prefer to have some company, here are some areas we tend to overspend. Takeout food alone costs the average person over $3,000 a year. To put that into perspective, that’s $260 a month, and $65 a week.

overspending categories chart

Not to mention, your weekly movie nights or hang outs with friends could also be costing you big. Entertainment costs, on average, fall at $242 a month — roughly $61 a week. Cutting your entertainment and takeout food budget by 50 percent alone could add $151 to your monthly savings.

5 Tips to Avoid Budget-Breaking Temptations

Curbing overspending can be tricky — especially when you’re feeling pressured by loved ones to spend more. If your budget tends to go over every month, you may need to make some changes. Implement our five tricks to dodge shopping temptations. 

1. Practice a Minimalist Lifestyle 

Fast fashion and take out dinners and coffee can be hard to avoid. Yet studies show if individuals cut down on their lifestyle budget, cotton waste could be reduced by 50 percent. Instead of molding societal social norms, establish a minimalist lifestyle and budget. This eco-friendly tactic can help you save some trees and some green. 

2. Switch to Cash

Cash may make budgeting easier because you can’t overspend once you run out. Challenge yourself to hide your cards and pay only in cash for 30 days. You may gain a better perspective on how much money you’re wasting vs. saving. 

3. Opt for Inexpensive Entertainment

Swap your weekly restaurant dates for a walk in the park. Make dinner special by whipping up your favorite dish at home and pair it with an ice cold drink. After cleaning your plate, head outside and take a long walk to get a breath of fresh air with your partner. 

4. Create Money-Saving Shortcuts 

Trick yourself to save more by creating shortcuts and establishing measurable goals. Set up automatic payments to your savings before you see your paycheck. You’ll treat it like an actual bill and grow your savings in case of emergencies

5. Reward Yourself

Setting goals can be motivating at first, but over time you may lose steam. To get through your mid-goal slump, set up budget-friendly rewards. If you spared your budget from buying coffee every day, reward yourself with your favorite espresso at the end of the month. 

Though it’s normal to slip up here and there, sticking to a budget is crucial when building your financial portfolio. As people admit to spending, on average, $200 a month on purchases they regret, really evaluate your money goals before swiping your card. You may find that money could be better spent on future investments. To check in on your budget while on the go, use Mint’s app to stay on top of your money. 

Sources: SlickDeals | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Methodology: This study was conducted for Mint using Google Surveys. The sample consisted of no fewer than 1,500 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. Responses were collected from June 16th to June 18th, 2020.

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