How To Avoid Emotional Spending
Written by Kristy
Iíll admit, Iím both an emotional spender and an emotional eater. When Iím stressed, tired, angry, sad, or even mad I tend to spend money. Iíve had to learn how to curb that in order to keep money in the savings account and from accumulating a bunch of stuff I didnít really want. So, here are a few tricks Iíve learned over the years on how to avoid the emotional spending.
# 1 Ė Avoid your personal temptation
I know my weakness is Best Buy, therefore, Iíve learned that when any strong emotion takes me, I need to avoid that store. I KNOW when I walk into Best Buy Iím going to spend money. But, when I walk in on a day when my emotions are high, itís guaranteed Iíll spend way too much. So, if youíre weakness is a retail shop, just stay away until youíve gained control of your mood.
# 2 Ė Avoid the bar
So, once I discovered that I needed to stay away from Best Buy, I turned to happy hour with friends. I think that was pretty close to being just as bad as going into retail therapy. When youíre emotions are in high gear, the drinks keep on flowing, whether you intend for them to or not. Before you know it, youíve run up a $50+ tab. If youíd like to relax with a beverage, buy it at the store and make it yourself. Much nicer to your wallet that way!
# 3 Ė Find an outlet
Spending money gives us something to do when weíve had a rough day. It takes our mind off of things for awhile and gives us a chance to escape. The natural solution to the spending problem is to find something else to do that you like just as much. Most of the time my emotional spending came from being stressed and angry over my day. So, I got into kickboxing and martial arts. I was able to work out my aggression, learn more self-control, and learn some breathing techniques that helped lower my blood-pressure on days I felt the tension rising. Find another outlet to channel that emotion to that doesnít cost you as much money as shopping.
# 4 Ė Find an accountability partner
Breaking a habit is hard to do, but when you have someone helping you it can make things easier. A friend of mine went through Alcoholicís Anonymous and they assign you a buddy to contact when you feel like youíre going to relapse. This person will talk with you and encourage you to keep going and stay strong, and itís a big part of the success factor for the program. The same holds true with any other accountability partner. Find someone you can trust, someone who is dependable, and someone that understands what youíre going through. They need to be supportive, not demeaning.
# 5 Ė Give yourself the cooling off period
This tip is given a lot to help curb all kind of impulse spending, but it works just as well for emotional spending. If you find yourself in a retail shop and wanting to buy something, put it down and give yourself 24 hours to consider it. Nine times out of ten, you will find you donít go back for it because it was just the mood your were in. This one is a little harder to do when youíre shopping based on emotion, which is why itís not near the top with avoiding shops. But, if you keep the cooling off period in mind, even if you slip and go into the store, hopefully you can prevent yourself from buying.
# 6 Ė Fill it up, and put it backÖ
This is only for those who have learned that they canít spend emotionally, but still want a little fix, if you will. After Iíd gotten into the habit of not actually spending money, I found it fun and extremely cathartic to grab a friend and go to our favorite store with the shopping cart in hand. Pick out everything youíd love to own if money werenít an issue and throw it in the cart. Take your time and go around the store until youíve filled your cart. Once itís full, start putting things back where you found them, but as you do, consider how many hours youíd have to work to actually purchase the item. You have a little fun, but the numbers help make sure you put it back.
These are just my tricks that Iíve used in order to curb my emotional spending. Some may not require all of these steps, some may need to seek more serious help in order to stop. But, if emotional spending is a problem for you, itís good to talk to someone about it, whether itís a friend or a spouse. Getting it out in the open makes you face the problem head on.