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One of the great things about smartphones is how easy they make things — but sometimes things are just too easy. Like when I'm scrolling through my Instagram feed before bed and see *another* cute pair of black Nikes. Three clicks later, I'm being thanked for my purchase.
That's how you wind up with five pairs of black Nikes, friends. (Just kidding, I don't really have five pairs. One is more gray than black.)
Now, had I broken out my laptop instead, I may have saved myself from that impulsive buy. Because it turns out, people actually spend more frivolously when using a touchscreen (think smartphones, tablets) than when using a traditional computer.
In a study of university students, online purchases tended to be more indulgent and hedonistic when participants used touchscreens, and more practical and utilitarian when bought through a computer.
"The touchscreen has an easy-to-use interface that puts you into an experiential thinking style," Ying Zhu, Ph.D., who led the study, told Fast Company. "When you're on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style."
Maybe that's why I find myself unable to pull the trigger on many an online purchase when I'm using a computer. Dusting off my laptop feels a lot more serious, like I need to really do my research. I open multiple tabs, start comparing items, then start second-guessing my need for the item in question and usually shut down with my credit card untouched.
But there's no denying the convenience of using your phone, whether to make a quick order on Amazon to refill your toilet paper supply or to book your next spin class through the studio's app (because of course, everything has its own app now).
But to help ensure you're spending wisely, try hitting pause before you hit that "place order" button. The Nikes aren't going anywhere, but after waiting a couple of hours or even a day, you might decide that the need has passed. Of course, if you are out of toilet paper, feel free to order that ASAP.