Planning to Make Unplanned Purchases? the Role of Discretionary Budgets in In-Store Decision Making

Karen Stilley, University of Pittsburgh
Drawing upon the mental accounting literature, we propose that consumers have mental budgets for grocery trips that are typically comprised of both a pre-allocated budget and a discretionary in-store budget. We conceptualize the pre-allocated budget as the amount that the consumer has allocated to spend on planned items and the discretionary in-store budget as the anticipated cost of unplanned items. In two field studies, we find incidence of the discretionary in-store budget. We also show that the size of the discretionary in-store budget varies with trip and household characteristics (Studies 1 & 2) and psychographics such as planning tendency and shopping task orientation (Study 2).
[ to cite ]:
Karen Stilley (2008) ,"Planning to Make Unplanned Purchases? the Role of Discretionary Budgets in In-Store Decision Making", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 157-161.