How To Avoid Panic Buying
As luck would have it, I was reading a bit on human nature before the Corona hit the fan.
I have been reading an excellent book called, "Made To Stick". It's about why some ideas take off and others don't. There was a VERY interesting aside in this book that may help you understand what's going on right now.
The book cites a study in which it was found that people don't behave in their own self-interest, they behave in what they think their self-interest should be. These are two very different things and we can use the great toilet paper hoarding run of 2020 as an example.
Let's say we have a fella named Bill. Bill goes to the store during a time of stress and sees other people loading up on t.p. Bill immediately thinks, "maybe I should load up on t.p.". Bill has just fallen victim to a herd mentality. A person who really is in touch with their genuine self-interests would think "do I need toilet paper?". They would then make or not make a purchase based on their needs, not what other people around them need.
This seems like a small thing, but if you're on a budget, or empathetic to the needs of others, it's worth taking a minute to figure out if you're buying something based on need or whether you're buying it just because everyone else is. Spend a few minutes and look around your house; if you're like most Americans, you probably have everything you need to stay at home for a couple of weeks.