Beware the toll of shopping under the influence

WASHINGTON — The cost of 14 separate Snuggies: $210. An 8-foot cardboard cutout of Will Ferrell: $40.  A cart full of animal hats $100. These are some of the most embarrassing drunk purchases by consumers, posted on social media.

Shopping under the influence is making a dent in consumers’ wallets, especially among those who drink alcohol consistently. A recent survey on revealed that almost half of all Americans who regularly drink alcohol each week also make spontaneous purchases while drunk.

The average cost of drunk spending? $206.

“What is interesting is that people are not just buying something small, like a pizza slice or a pack of cigarettes,” Michelle Hutchison,’s money expert, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “These are significant things people are buying.”

Drunken buys include everything from cigarettes — the third most popular purchase — to shoes or clothes, the top category of drink-driven purchases, in a Finder survey of 3,123 Americans.

Finder said that men on average spend four times as much as women in an unplanned booze-filled buying session. And among both men and women, millennials were most likely to succumb to the practice.

The rise of online retailing, as well as “Sip and Shop” special events are partly to blame. But actually fueling those impromptu buys: Ever-popular beer — the preference of 21 percent of those who drink regularly — followed by wine and spirits.

Preventive measures may help control shopping under the influence:

  • Avoid or remove shopping apps on mobile devices, and stay away from retail websites.
  • Block tempting websites during certain hours. The Freedom app or the Chrome extension StayFocused may help.
  • Don’t save your credit card information on your device, and hide your credit cards before the drinking begins.

If all else fails, know which retailers have flexible return policies.

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