Is emotional spending taking over your finances?

Often times we spurge because of feelings. Yes, there is a psychology behind how we feel about money. And emotional spending could be ruining your finances. It is best to find your spending triggers so you can set up a solid financial foundation and keep your emotional spending in check.


Is Emotional Spending Ruining Your Finances? #personalfinance #savemoney #budgeting
How is Emotional Spending Ruining Your Finances?

(Update 3/2021)

Are your emotions ruining your budget? Yes, your feelings could be digging you in deep. 

Many people use shopping as a form of therapy when they could really just use someone to talk to. Oftentimes, if we are feeling stressed or bored, we choose to spend. There are other reasons one may spend including a feeling of “I deserve this” or feeling deprived if we cannot afford to buy something.

Having a bad day at work? Then why not break out your plastic therapist and start shopping?

The only problem is, most of the time you end up feeling good for a while, but eventually buyer’s remorse sets in. You try to justify your spending but in the end, you feel awful after your glorious shopping spree. And what’s worse is when you later open up your HUGE credit card bill and see the amount of debt you owe.

It is time to stop the emotional shopping sprees and start taking control of your financial situation.

Emotional spending is a bad habit, but it is a habit that can be broken. And you are not alone. Learn how to stop your bad spending habits below:

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How Is Emotional Spending Ruining Your Finances?

What is emotional spending? Emotional spending meaning:

Emotional spending is spending money because you are having negative emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, boredom,  or anxiety.  

You spend money because you are trying to ease your negative emotions and buying something gives you a rush of joy and happiness.

Research shows, spending money triggers a dopamine response in our brains. It can become addictive and a hard habit to break.

Many emotional spenders have trained their brains to expect this “getting something” reward when feeling down. The satisfaction of buying something outweighs the acknowledgment of mounting debt.

A habit of spending during hard times has taken over the rational or logical part of your brain telling you you are in debt. And during this frenzy, you may not realize you do not have the money to make this emotional purchase.



How to stop emotional spending/splurging

Although you may be in debt due to emotional spending, you can still learn to curb spending and dig your way out of debt.

First, try to break the spending habit or spending pattern.

I’m going to warn you, this is not easy. If you are used to buying anything you want, it will be difficult to change. But it can be done.

You must retrain your brain to crave another reward when feeling down. In other words, replace the negative behavior with something positive.

First, figure out what is triggering your spending habits. Is it the Friday meeting with your boss that didn’t go well? Or do you have a coworker that often stresses you out? Are your kids running wild and driving you crazy so you go in your room for some online shopping to clear your mind?

Perhaps you are just feeling bored and you use shopping as a way to pass the time.

It is important to determine the spending trigger so you can find a better way to cope other than blowing your budget.

After you decide what is triggering your spending, track your spending for a few weeks. You can write it down on paper or use this app to help you keep track.

You will be amazed at what you see. You probably don’t even realize how much you are wasting on your shopping habit.

Then write down and post ideas you can try when feeling negative emotions, other than spending. Here are some ideas for you, but it is important you find something that works for you and helps you to cope with your negative emotions. 

Ideas for spending replacement habits:

  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Reading self-help books
  • Take a walk
  • Call a friend
  • Find free things to do
  • Hike
  • Go to a park

Books to help with emotional spending:

Breaking a habit is truly difficult. Yet, there are many resources out there to help you on your journey. Try checking one of these books out and learn to retrain your brain to crave something other than spending.

Also check out this post on Emotional Spending from Everyday Dollar: 7 Ways to Overcome Emotional Spending


Importance of learning how to stop emotional spending 

If it isn’t obvious by now, using emotional spending as a way to cope will ruin your finances if you do t have the money to back it up, don’t buy it.

Also, by making impulse buy purchases you will and end up with a bunch of stuff and clutter you don’t need. 

So the importance of learning how to stop emotional spending will benefit you now and help you plan for a better financial future. 

It is important to stop your emotional spending so you can be financially secure and work towards financial goals such as an emergency fund, paying down debt, and retirement.

Emotional spending conclusion

Just because you have used emotional spending in the past, doesn’t mean you need to continue on the same path. In fact, emotional spending may be the culprit of your failing budget. Take a good, hard look at your spending habits and retrain your brain to use better-coping methods during times of distress.

Yes, you can fix your budget one day at a time. Find more positive ways to ease pain such as exercise, journaling, or reading to take your mind off things.

You can conquer your emotional spending! You’ve got this!

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Is emotional spending taking over your finances?

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12 Comments on Is Emotional Spending Ruining Your Finances?

    • Thank you, Lexis! I’m so glad you found it helpful! Emotional spending can really take a toll, so finding a new habit is essential! Thanks for the visit! Take care!

    • Thank you, Kelsey! So true what you said about emotional spending. It is best to find ways to stop emotional spending and find better habits! Thanks for the visit!

  1. I love that you share alternative ideas for emotional shopping, as I, for one, need SERIOUS help, in this area! HA! Fantastic insights!

    • Thank you, Cari! I’m glad you found my post about emotional spending helpful! I’ve been one to emotional spend too, but I’m working on it!! Take care! 🙂

  2. I think emotional spending is so dangerous.

    It can really take over your life and ruin your finances and it’s actually very easy to fall back into the trap even though you stop for a bit.

    Your ideas about exercising and reading self help books are great. I had a time where I stuck my head in a lot of self improvement about life and finances and it helped me stop my shopping completely. Like no joke 🙂

    I love your article! Keep up the great work!

    • Good for you, Kelly! It is so easy to use emotional spending as a crutch, but it sounds like you found better ways to cope! So glad! Take care!!

    • Thank you so much, Jennifer! I know emotional spending is easy! I have done it myself. I am glad you found my post helpful! Take care!

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