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Spending is EMOTIONAL!

Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling overwhelmed & frustrated, you start searching the internet for that new gadget your friend has? Or when you are feeling super happy you grab your wallet & head to the store? That's because money & emotions go hand in hand, and spending is often based on emotions! In fact, research shows that a substantial percentage of unplanned spending comes from impulsive emotional responses. And all too often those unplanned purchases cause stress & regret, which could lead us to more unplanned emotional spending.


If you feel like you are an emotional spender, you are definitely not alone. Spending provides an instant feeling of gratification & control, unlike saving which can take time for you to feel satisfied with your progress. The problem is that unplanned spending is actually caused by being out of control, despite it feeling like the opposite.


People make unplanned purchases for many reasons including but not limited to:

  • To fill a perceived void in our lives

  • To make others happy

  • To maximize social standing

  • To provide that dose of dopamine when we are feeling sad

  • To keep that dopamine going when we are feeling happy


As you can see, emotional spending can happen when you feel many different emotions, including sadness & happiness. We often look at it as tied to negative emotions, but it is just as commonly tied to positive emotions. Have you ever received a huge compliment at work or had an amazing conversation with a new partner, only to find yourself excited & ready to go out & buy something? Whether or you are spending because you are happy or sad, or a multitude of other emotional reasons, there's a good chance that you do not want to be spending in such a way, but in more of a controlled & deliberate way. When you spend more deliberately, you feel a greater satisfaction with the things you do buy.


The first step in curtailing emotional spending is to understand that it happens, & why it happens. There are also steps you can take to overcome spending emotionally which you can read about in my next blog post!



Range of emotions | money is emotional

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