Step away from the panic buying – buy smarter and SAVE MONEY!


Panic is a self-perpetuating cycle. It drives us to make some foolish decisions. Like buying what we don’t need, stock-piling, or not buying in the smartest way.

How to stop panic-buying

When we understand the process of panic, then it’s much easier to deal with. Panic stems from our stress response, so let’s go through what’s actually happening.

The human stress response

Although it usually feels like it’s in our head, stress is actually a physical response to a perceived physical threat.

When we were cave-people, our stress responses were vital. They kept us alive, kept us together, and ensured the human race continued.

Stress would have been a helpful asset as a cave-person because in stress our fight/flight/freeze responses are activated. This means that we can either fight something that is threatening us, run away from it if it’s too big, or hide from it (freeze).

When faced with a predator, you can imagine that the sooner our caveperson ancestors activated one of these processes - the more likely we were to overcome the threat and survive. The survival of the fittest meant that those with the fastest stress responses survived. So our brains evolved to leap straight into stress immediately!

What’s going on physically?

When we need to react to a physical threat – we need to get oxygenated blood to our major (legs/arms) muscles so our hearts beat faster and we breathe faster, cortisol (stress hormone) is pumped to our muscles, ready to act.Our digestion shuts down (which is why we can often get digestive problems when we’re stressed).

Our brains evolved to be aware of threats

And this means that our brains evolved so that we are “negatively hard-wired” – we look for threats. Not only that – when something stresses us, our brains switch straight into the stress response, and our creative or logical abilities are shut down!

The key points to remember here:

1) stress makes us ACT immediately

2) stress bypasses any logic.

So – whether our stressor is the constant barrage of news reports of Covid-19, or that someone doesn’t respond to us as we would expect – this makes us act illogically. We feel threatened and we go straight into stress.

And when we act illogically together (as a tribe) that can feed even more stress.

We have all seen those photos and stories of the empty supermarket shelves, of no toilet paper, no food … well it was stress that caused these panic-buying bouts. And now when we see the empty shelves – that causes us even more stress in itself. Panic feeds on panic.We feel threatened, and our stress just ramps up and up.


The easiest way to deal with this stress is to take a breath, step back, and rationalise. OK, it’s not easy or straightforward to do this when we are caught up in stress – however the very fact that you’ve realised you’re stressed, means you’re already taking the first step.

Check your breathing now. Aim for belly breathing, deeper in your abdomen.

Slow your breaths down.

Count as you breath – count to 5 as you breathe in, and count to 7 as you breathe out.

Don’t act until you’ve thought it through. Remember our parents’ and grandparent’s saying: “act in haste, repent at leisure”? Well they were right. We just need to take a little time. The old saying of “count to 10” is still very useful.

Try the STOP process, to manage stress and panic:

S - Step Back

T - Take a breath (a slow belly breath)

0 - Observe what’s going on

P - Plan what to do next.

The other stress response – tend and befriend.

As a tribe of cave-people, when an invading tribe turns up – the people that survived (our ancestors) would be the ones that were either strong enough to overthrow the invaders, or those that found a way to placate those invaders. Our female-brained ancestors were probably tending the cooking, looking after children, nursing babies. And most women just aren’t as physically strong as men, so the “tend and befriend” response came about as a survival means to placate the invaders and to stay alive.

We can see this “tend and befriend” play out today too – just think about the last time you were super-nice to someone who was horrible to you? Or how you might be passive in a time when there is hostility around. One of our team remembers going into excessive “making cups of tea and buying cakes for the whole company” after a stressful event (not caused by any of us!).

How does this all help us with smarter buying?

Right, let's get back to the panic buying. First let's consider that very few of us would buy something expensive we didn’t want or need, or something that was ridiculously overpriced… unless we were stressed! So using the STOP technique from above, we can relax a little and make wiser decisions.

One of those decisions may be to save some money, by buying the CardYard way - see our Buy like a boss infographic. Take a moment, identify the card you need, then go buy that online first. It could save you a money and that in itself will certainly save you stress.

1st of April, 2020More blog posts