Revealed: Why women splash out on luxury items?

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2010, 12:02 PM IST

London: Men have long complained about their spouses splashing out on luxury items. Now, a new study has revealed why females over indulge in shopping at certain times of the month -- it`s due to hormonal changes.

Psychologists from University of Hertfordshire have found that women`s spending patterns depended to a significant extent on the stage they had reached in their menstrual cycle.

In fact, the study has found a clear link between shopping and female hormonal changes, `Daily Mail` reported. Lead author Prof Karen Pine was quoted as saying, "It is empowering for women to be aware of the factors that can affect their behaviour. In this way they can be more in control of their spending.

"Women may now decide they won`t go out clothes shopping when feeling pre-menstrual because it`s a time when they are more likely to overspend or buy on impulse."

The researchers have based their findings on a survey of 450 women, aged between 18 and 50 years. They asked the participants about their spending habits in the previous week and at the end of the survey asked for the date of their last menstrual period.

Purchasing habits among those who took part in the poll fluctuated throughout the month, with unplanned buying of luxury items peaking when the women were most likely to be suffering from pre-menstrual tension.

Spending dropped when they were at their most fertile -- a finding which may cause some surprise as this is when women are said to experience a desire to dress more stylishly to impress men, a phenomenon known as "ornamentation effect".

The trend among women at a later stage in their biological cycle, was to buy considerably more than intended. Nearly 60 per cent of participants in this category admitted forking out 25 pounds more than necessary, while six per cent reported overspending to the tune of 250 pounds on non-essential items, such as handbags and shoes.

One third said they were left with feelings of remorse at having bought more than they could afford or at going out to buy a particular item and coming back with something different. Others felt guilty or angry with themselves for not having stuck to their budget.

The study says the effect of PMT on female economic behaviour has been largely ignored until now.

One theory raised is that consumer behaviour may have its evolutionary roots in expeditions to obtain food. "Shifts in spending may have arisen from pressure to forage more after the reduction in food consumption that accompanies ovulation," said the researchers.

The findings are to be published in an upcoming issue of `Personality and Individual Differences` journal.

PTI