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UK shoppers are now savvier than ever, new research reveals

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Brits prepare in advance, look for creative ways to save cash and want long-term value this Black Friday, says psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

As Black Friday approaches, new research by Vodafone reveals that we’re becoming a ‘preparation nation’ as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

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Over two-fifths (43%) of Brits now save for sales occasions up to five months in advance, to make the most of discounts and reduce the impact on their finances.

More than a third (37%) say they’ve regretted not being better prepared ahead of key calendar sales moments, while over half (60%) plan to spend more time than ever before researching, comparing prices, and hunting down bargains during this year’s Black Friday events.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, behavioural psychologist

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, psychologist, said: “People are considering their purchases much more now than they have in a long time. The cost-of-living crisis has transformed our shopping habits, with shoppers now wanting to prepare ahead and look for even more ways to make their money go even further.”

Dr Linda continues: “A big part of purchase decisions are now based on items that’ll provide a value over a longer period of time. Whether it’s an essential item that’ll offer value over a lifetime, like a washing machine, or if it’s the latest smartphone, consumers are thinking about their options later down the line.

“Trade-in deals and popular re-sell markets give consumers confidence when shopping around; this is especially prevalent when thinking about investing in the latest tech.”

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Dr Linda’s top five tips on how Brits can cost plan

Planning in advance limits uncertainty and means you are more likely to take action to deliver your goals. Cost planning also feeds into mental well-being by giving peace of mind. Being prepared means less stress and anxiety, as well as a greater sense of control over not only a particular project but life in general.

  1. Create a routine: our ’To Dos’ are easier to stick to when they become habits. It means you go into autopilot, the same way that you brush your teeth or shower in the morning. Think about those important plans in the same way.
  2. Get your priorities straight: the clearer you are about each priority and its urgency, the less time you’ll spend thinking about your to do list.
  3. Action vs outcome: when people think about behavioural change, they tend to focus on outcome. Instead, focus on establishing those actions that will actually make the outcome more likely.
  4. Make sure plans are realistic and ensure that you leave space for unplanned events.
  5. Take care of your future self: when we do a cost-benefit analysis in our mind we tend to focus on the costs now, rather than the benefits later (which is why it’s so hard to do the things that are good for us). People who plan are able to invert this, bringing into the forefront of their mind the benefits of their actions today and thus taking care of their future selves.
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