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How to combat emotional spending

If you read my last blog post, you know that spending money can be very emotional, which can lead to unplanned purchases & feelings of guilt. But the good news is that there are ways to combat emotional spending!

First, if you are feeling the itch to purchase something that is not in the budget, stop to assess your feelings. Think about, or better yet write it down, your situation. Did you just have an argument with a loved one or a crappy day at work? Once you have an understanding of your situation, think about your emotional reaction - how are you feeling? Now that you have your feeling narrowed down, what do you need to combat that feeling? Take a look at the example below:

I just had a huge disagreement with my boss. She wants me to finish this project by the end of the day tomorrow but I know if I do it right, it will take at least a few more days. She just didn't get it when I tried to explain it to her, which left me feeling anxious & frustrated. I want to go buy something because spending always gives me satisfaction, but I know that I have big financial goals & those shoes I want won't help me save enough to update my bathroom. I also know that taking a walk always helps me relax, so I'll try going out for a walk first to see if that helps with my anxiety, then I'll reevaluate.

This story is a great example of someone with a healthy money mindset. She recognizes that spending will temporarily help her anxiety, but she also recognizes that it will not help her in her long term financial goals. So she figured out something else that may relieve some of her anxiety that is healthier than unplanned spending. This is a great way to combat emotional spending!

If you do the above exercise & find you need some comfort, you can try:

  • Grabbing a comfy blanket & your favorite book or putting on your favorite TV show

  • Calling a loved one (not just texting)

  • Pull out an old photo album and explore old memories

If you do the above exercise & find you need some relaxation to soothe anxiousness, you can try:

  • Taking a walk or other exercise such as yoga or stretching

  • Lying down and closing your eyes for at least 5 minutes; focus on your breathing

  • Make yourself a cup of tea or other favorite drink

  • Journaling

After you try these things, reevaluate your emotions. Are you still ready to hit the stores or search the internet for something fun to buy? Perhaps, but I bet the feeling is strongly diminished. Because after all, you weren't actually wanting to buy something, you were wanting a way to handle your emotions.

Remember, the happiness you feel from buying something on impulse will be very short lived, but the happiness you feel on reaching your financial goals & buying something with purpose will last for a very long time. :)

Combating emotional spending


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