Almost all of us participate in emotional spending from time to time. We have a bad day and want to ease the pain by buying a new gadget or item of clothing. Maybe someone we admire has an expensive handbag or new phone, and we feel the urge to purchase one just like it. Occasional emotional spending isn’t usually an issue. But when it gets out of hand, when it damages our finances, or when it’s used in place of healthier coping mechanisms, it can become a problem. Here’s what to know about emotional spending, and how to stop doing it if it’s become an unhealthy habit for you.
What Is Emotional Spending?
Emotional spending—sometimes described as “retail therapy” or impulse buying—is when you make a purchase that is guided more by your emotions than your need for a certain product or service. In other words, your emotions and desires overcome your willpower, or you ability to make a more rational decision about the purchase. Research has found that shopping releases hormones like dopamine that make us feel happy and boosts our mood. In fact, the whole shopping experience—from looking or browsing for items, to purchasing the item, to unboxing the item or waiting for it to be delivered to your home—is a pleasurable experience for many people. Emotional spending isn’t always a bad thing, but for many of us, it can become an ongoing habit and can strain our bank accounts. Not only that, but the rush of good feelings that we experience when we retail shop don’t last, and the feelings of unhappiness that we may be looking to push away can still linger.
Emotional Spending vs. Compulsive Buying
Emotional spending isn’t a disorder, but sometimes it can cross the line into one. Compulsive buying is considered a psychological disorder, where the person is unable to control their impulses, and purchases items they don’t need on an ongoing, obsessive basis. Compulsive buying is an addictive behavior and can have negative impacts on one’s life and well-being, including problems at work, school, as well as financial demise.
What Causes Emotional Spending?
If you are interested in decreasing your emotional spending, it can be helpful to understand what is causing you to engage in the habit. Becoming more aware of your triggers is the first step toward breaking the habit. Emotional spending is just what it sounds like: spending that is guided by emotions. Some of the emotions that might cause someone to engage in emotional spending include:
- Feeling like your life is out of control
- Low self-esteem
- Stress, including financial stress
- Social isolation
Tips for Stopping Emotional Spending
Emotional spending may feel out of your control at times, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some steps you can take to gain more control of the habit, and decrease your impulse buying.
Understand Your Triggers
Next time you are about to make a purchase that seems to slant toward the impulsive side of things, ask yourself how you are feeling. Try to name the emotion. If you are experiencing a negative emotion—anxiety, jealousy, sadness—ask yourself what purchasing this item will do for you. Are you trying to make these bad feelings go away? You don’t have to have all the answers here, but exploring and becoming aware of your feelings is an important step toward not acting quite so impulsively on your emotions.
Find Healthier Ways to Cope With Your Emotions
When you engage in emotional spending, you are often looking to tap into those positive feelings that come with making a purchase. “Feel good” hormones like dopamine are released when we retail shop, which can feel like an instant reward. But there are healthier—and less expensive—ways to release those happy feelings. Next time you find yourself wanting to purchase an item because you want to feel better, consider:
- Going for a walk or a jog
- Playing your favorite sport
- Meeting up with a friend for coffee
- Taking a warm bath
- Watching a favorite movie or TV show
Make an “Emotional Spending” Budget
Emotional spending isn’t always negative and is an acceptable habit to engage in from time to time. It’s OK to reward yourself with something special, and sometimes buying yourself something is an act of self-care. The problem is that when we act on our emotions constantly, we may end up overspending or making purchases without thinking rationally. Creating an “emotional spending” budget can help you keep your impulse buying in check, because it will allow you to engage in emotional spending from time to time, but you will have to make a more conscious decision to do so. Pick a monthly or weekly amount you can afford to spend, and stick to it.
Check on Your Finances Regularly
Many of us prefer to be somewhat in the dark about our finances. We collect our paychecks, spend our money, and hope that we don’t spend more than we can afford. But this method often backfires, and if you are an emotional spender, you may find yourself spending more than you earn frequently. Take one day a week, or even one day a month, to check on your accounts. Note what you have spent, and what you have left to spend. Doing so will make thinking about finances a routine part of your life, and also help you think more rationally about spending your money.
Learn to Enjoy the “Rush” of Saving Money
When we purchase items on impulse, or based on an emotional urge, we are usually doing so because of the positive feelings that rush over us. But what you might not realize is that saving your money can produce some of the same feelings. Deciding that you are going to set aside a certain amount of money each month to save—and then watching it grow—can produce feelings of excitement, happiness, self-confidence, and control—many of the same feelings you are looking for when you participate in emotional spending. You can even have your money automatically transferred into a savings account each month, so you don’t have to think about it.
Take a Break
Next time you are considering making a purchase that comes from a more emotional than rational place, take a break before buying. If you are browsing online, put the item in your cart, and then step away for a few hours. If you are in the store, decide that you might purchase the item soon, but go home, and consider going back later to buy it. During this “break” you may still decide that purchasing the item is right for you, but it will be less of an impulsive purchase. You may also realize that you don’t need the item to be happy, and will be able to refrain from purchasing the item.
If You Think You Might Have a Shopping Addiction
Sometimes emotional spending crosses a line and can become an addiction. Compulsive buying behaviors, or shopping addictions, are characterized by:
- A compulsive need to buy things
- An inability to control one’s desires to buy things
- An excessive purchasing pattern
- Often, the items purchased aren’t even used or enjoyed, but are just purchased to fulfill a compulsion to experience the emotional reaction of making a purchase
Usually, this addiction is coupled with financial problems, legal problems, relationship problems, and deep feelings of guilt and shame. If you think you are dealing with a compulsive buying issue, you should consider seeing a therapist or counselor who specializes in this disorder. Help is out there, and you deserve to feel better.
A Word From Verywell
It’s fine to enjoy a little emotional spending from time to time. You deserve to have things you enjoy, and there’s nothing wrong with chasing the thrill of going shopping. But if you are finding that your emotional spending is becoming a problem, or is straining your finances, it makes sense to address it. Luckily, there are many simple things you can do to decrease your emotional spending—and they can have a positive impact on both your bank account and your emotional state. Emotional spending may feel good in the moment, but the truth is, there are usually healthier ways to cope with your emotions.
How to deal with emotional spending? Here are 10 tips for you.
Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash Today’s personal financial management topic I’d like to share with you is on emotional spending — what it is and how to stop it. Here goes. Do you spend money to improve your mood whenever you’re stressed or feeling fatigued? Do you sometimes buy things to improve your self-esteem and confidence? Whenever you’re dealing with loneliness, does it make you feel better to eat comfort food or chocolates? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have experienced something called emotional spending. It occurs when you spend money to improve your mood, spending on the stuff that you don’t really need or want. In short, you engage in the behavior due to boredom, stress, feeling of low self-esteem, or unhappiness. It also happens whenever some people feel under-appreciated or incompetent, or feeling a whole other range of emotions. If you’ve ever noticed, you might have spent on stuff that you didn’t need when you felt happy, such as when you had a raise or you passed the board exam. For some, they engage in emotional spending, such as impulsive buying, to cope with stress or manage a problem, little knowing this spending habit could lead to a larger problem later (e.g. running short of cash before the next paycheck).
How To Stop Emotional Spending?
Emotional spending can be financially dangerous because it can ruin your personal finance. If you don’t stop it, you might lead yourself to a financial ruin, too. For example, excessive shopping can reduce your buying power. It can reduce the money available for emergencies or meaningful purposes. With this bad habit, you might have a difficult time to allot money for savings, too. Adding up, people spend more than they really need to, and sometimes drown themselves in debt, too. Relax and breathe. You can do it! The very first step that we can deal with emotional spending is to accept that we do it, and then plan.
1. Set up a celebration fund
We all love to celebrate- birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, wedding engagements, or another occasion. But then, you might also have realized by now that money can quickly disappear with uncontrolled spending habits during a celebration. For help, set up a celebration fund for special occasions and surprises so that you’re prepared.
2. List down and engage in healthy outlets
Some people tend to buy things whenever feeling lonely. However, you must remember that spending money to feel better will not last. The problem is still there, but your money is gone. That feeling can be worse. Now, you’d feel guilt. So, in the end, emotional spending doesn’t really help cope up with the loneliness. Instead of engaging in poor emotional spending habits, look for healthy coping techniques whenever you’re stressed or lonely. Remember, the happiness to get from buying the unnecessary is not lasting because it can lead to guilt later, especially when you’ve realized that your wallet’s empty to pay your bills. So, if you want to get rid of stress, for instance, you should find out what activity can make you feel satisfied. What are those things that can give you that adrenaline rush? Maybe drinking coffee, gardening, or something else instead of spending? With diversionary activities, you can pause for a while later finding out that you don’t really need to spend money.
3. How many hours do you need to work to buy that stuff?
Whenever you’re feeling that emotional spending is kicking in, you can stop for a while and calculate the cost of buying something. How many hours or days do you need to work or have an overtime if you would buy that necklace? Is that item worth three or four days of work?
4. Create a personal balance sheet
With it, you can check your net worth and calculate how much emotional spending is impacting your finances. Once you’ve made a balance sheet or a financial statement, you can start drawing up a budget that you’d be willing to stick to, no matter what. Remember, it’s not wrong to buy nice things for yourself occasionally provided you can afford it, and that it won’t make your finances suffer. After all, retail therapy isn’t completely not allowed because some people might find it valuable. On your budget plan, you can provide yourself a certain level of emotional spending but within it.
5. Avoid impulse buying
One of the best ways to deal with this bad habit is to avoid making purchases out of impulse or emotions. For example, you shouldn’t buy something that you don’t really want to buy from the start whether you’re in an online shop or a department store. Stop and wait before buying it. Later, you might realize that you don’t really need it. Also, you might have to postpone the purchase for a few weeks so that you can make a good decision. In addition, you might list down the items that you avoided buying, and later check this list out to know if you could already afford to buy it.
6. Avoid the places where emotional spending triggers
Another thing to do to overcome this bad spending habit that hurts your personal finance is to limit your exposure to triggers. If it’s online shopping, you can browse other websites where to spend your time. You can also look for diversions to occupy your time, such as going for a walk or exercising.
7. Take responsibility for your spending habits
Making yourself accountable is one of the most useful ways to overcome emotional spending. You should also write down your financial priorities so that you can read it each time you’re itching to buy something unplanned.
8. Let the moment pass
Whenever you’re feeling jealous that you want to keep up with a colleague’s fashion, step back and take some time to breathe. Let the moment pass. After all, the rush might be gone away, and then, later you will realize that you don’t really want to buy that trendy bag. Also, avoid the temptation of buying items just because you want to keep up with someone or with the latest trends.
9. Eat before going to the grocery store or shopping
Eat before going to a store so that you can avoid emotional spending on food. It is also to avoid going overboard your budget just because you’re hungry. To prevent it from happening, eat before going to the store. Avoid the temptation of coffee shops and bakeshops. Most importantly, stick to the items on your grocery list.
10. Write on a journal
Journaling is an amazing tool to improve one’s emotional intelligence and mental health. It also helps to manage one’s feelings and thoughts day by day. It also improves problem-solving, manages stressful events and enhances clarity. It is why journaling is a technique used in cognitive behavioral therapy. Writing on a journal, which involves recording events such as impulsive shopping, can help fight emotional spending. With a journal, you can identify the events that lead to emotional spending, allowing you to recognize what your problem is. In this way, you’ll be able to deal with the root causes of the problem and ways to fix it instead of spending.
Following these tips, you can become more conscious of your shopping habits and manage your finances better. You can have greater control of your spending and gain pure enjoyment on your purchases without the guilt and shame later. And the bottom line, remember that emotional spending will not fix your problem but can make it worse. After all, it can also break the bank and put you in debt. Use these tips and overcome emotional spending today! Join my email list to stay in touch. Other stories you may like: It’s probably no surprise that the last two years have seen a huge surge in emotional spending. For many of us, the pandemic brought uncertainty, anxiety and stress. This, coupled with more time spent at home and the closure of high street stores during lockdowns, saw many of us turn to online retailers for the hit of dopamine we get from making a purchase. While online shopping was a necessity at times during the pandemic, it’s also become a coping mechanism and a way of reliving the boredom. Research into consumer behaviour from Mintel at the start of 2021 tracker showed that half UK adults (53%) were doing more online shopping than they had at the start of the pandemic. And we weren’t just buying the basics. Britons splashed out £40.6bn online on non-essential items during lockdown, data from Barclaycard has shown. That works out at an average of £770 per person. The most popular feed-good items we bought were takeaway food and drink, clothes and plants, in that order. Even the most financially savvy of us can struggle to make good money choices – and it could be that our natural instincts are to blame. According to behavioural psychologist Dan Ariely, author of Small Change: Money Mishaps and How to Avoid Them, the human brain simply isn’t hardwired to be good with money. That said, if we can learn to identify the habits and behaviours that lead us to buy on a whim or because of emotional triggers, it is possible to find take control of our spending. If you think you are prone to emotional spending and want to do something about it, or you’re concerned that someone close to you is, here are some steps you can take to help turn things around.
Money and emotions don’t mix
We are programmed to follow our emotions, says Dan. According to a study by Asda Money, 19 million of us spend for purely emotional reasons, be it after a break-up, retirement or dealing with a death. It’s nature’s safety mechanism to make sure we respond appropriately in dangerous situations. Imagine, he says, that you see a tiger at the edge of a forest. «Nature doesn’t want people, at that point, to start thinking about cost and benefit… to make an excel spreadsheet and start thinking about what to do. Nature wants us to just start running as fast as possible.» Following your emotions can make for impulsive spending. Something everything from adverts on television, to salespeople in shops, to the algorithms used by social media, are all too happy to exploit. How often have you browsed online for something, only to find a pop-up ad for the very same thing in your browser the next day? How often have you been so caught up in the rush to buy at the sales, that you end up with stuff you didn’t need?
Practical ways to stop emotional spending
- Instead of buying something immediately, take a step back and see if you still want it in half an hour. The bigger the purchase, the longer you need to let that fizz of emotion settle.
- Take a cold hard look at your bank statement every month for evidence of emotional spending. Are you, for instance, buying lots of clothes online late in the evening when you’re bored?
- Use free phone apps, like Monzo, that break down your spending into categories, so you can see exactly where your money goes each month. It even provides helpful breakdowns of how much you spend on average in a particular shop or chain, and also in categories like travel or eating out.
- Once you’ve identified your bad habits put processes in place to break them, such as no online shopping just to pass the time or after a certain time of day.
If you’d like more great money content, SIGN UP HERE for our fortnightly Financially Fabulous newsletter! SIGN UP If you find yourself using shopping as an escape from the stresses of life, you’re probably an over spender who is more prone to being broke. Many people enjoy the temporary “high” from a shopping spree. But when you do that way too often, it leads to out-of-control spending and bills that you can’t afford. Break the habit of emotional spending by identifying triggering situations in your life that may lead you to shop. For instance, do you run to the mall when your boss upsets you or when you’ve had an argument with your honey? Find healthier ways to self-regulate and manage your emotions so you aren’t fueling a shopping addiction and spending money recklessly.
Here are eight ways to stop emotional spending.
Leave the credit cards at home.
As a matter of practice, leave your credit cards at home more often than not. Having credit cards, charge cards, and department-store cards in your wallet or purse makes it easy to make spur-of-the-moment shopping trips. You’ll think more about your spending practices if you have to part with your hard-earned dollars versus whipping out a credit card. Moreover, people tend to spend more when they use plastic instead of cash.
Use the “24-hour rule.”
When you see something expensive that you think you “must” have, be willing to wait on that purchase for 24 hours and tell yourself that, if you still really want the item, you can always go back and get it the next day. In many cases that 24-hour period will be just the break you need not to indulge yourself.
Set a budget.
For most shopaholics it’s pointless to say, “Just don’t shop!” If it were that easy, no one would have a shopping problem. The real issue isn’t shopping in and of itself. The real issue is excessive shopping or compulsive, habitual, out-of-control shopping. Sometimes it happens at certain times of the year such as holidays. To combat the problem and keep your finances intact, give yourself permission to do some shopping—within reason. Set a realistic amount of money that you can spend each month without racking up debt. Once you hit your limit, do everything in your power to stop shopping for the rest of the month.
Enlist the help of friends and family.
When you go on a shopping excursion, take a buddy with you who will not let you go overboard. That friend should know your budget or spending limit for that particular outing. Then it’s the friend’s job to get you out of the mall or away from the stores once you reach your limit. Also, tell any supportive family members that you’re working on curbing your spending, and ask for their encouragement in helping you meet your goal.
Limit shopping trips to “emotion-neutral” times.
Be aware of your emotional state at all times and pledge that you will not shop when your emotions are off kilter. This means foregoing shopping trips when you feel any kind of emotional extreme such as elation, sadness, or depression. If you must shop, do so during “emotion-neutral” times—i.e., when you’re on a relatively even emotional keel.
Channel your energy.
Find alternative things to do. Instead of hitting your favorite stores, channel your energy into more positive activities such as exercising, reading, or pursuing a hobby. If you’re busy, especially if you’re doing something fun and physical, you’ll not only be too occupied to do mindless shopping but you’ll also be engaged in a healthy, stress-busting activity.
Get to the root of the problem and recognize your emotional-spending “triggers.”
You can also get a handle on impulse shopping binges by preventing them in the first place and learning why your spending is out of control. Start a journal. Write down what happens in your life and look for patterns to see whether something serves as a “trigger” event that makes you want to shop. Also, reflect about your past. Write down notes about when you first became a shopaholic, how shopping makes you feel, and what emotions you experience before and after you shop.
Join a support group for shopaholics.
Lastly, for serious shopaholics, try joining a support group such as the Stopping Overshopping Program (www.StoppingOvershopping.com) created by April Lane Benson, Ph.D., the author of I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self. Dr. Benson has been in private practice in New York City for nearly 30 years and has treated many women who are excessive shoppers. A similar program, is offered by psychotherapist Olivia Mellan, the author of Overcoming Overspending. She has teleclasses, CDs, books, and resources on her website (www.MoneyHarmony.com) to help shopaholics. By getting to the root of why you consistently splurge, you’ll understand how your habits first began and how to combat the cultural and media influences that make you want to hit the mall and shop unnecessarily or excessively. Have you ever found yourself shopping online not because you really need to purchase something, but to soothe stress or anxiety? Taking just a few simple steps to recognize emotional spending can help make it easier to stick to your budget, reach your financial goals and attain financial security. Here’s how to start.
First, What is Emotional Spending?
At its core, emotional spending means buying something you don’t need – and may not even particularly want – to satisfy an emotional need. That could mean shopping to distract from negative emotions, like stress, sadness or isolation, or even shopping out of boredom. And research shows it works. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that retail therapy helped reduce sadness and helped shoppers gain a sense of personal control. But these benefits can be short-lived. At best, you may end up spending your recreational budget on purchases that didn’t truly make you happy. At worst, you could put your financial wellness at risk, and potentially boost your stress levels, if emotional shopping leads you to make purchases you can’t afford.
Understand Your Emotional Spending
Most emotional spending is a pattern of behavior. When you start to recognize the patterns that lead you to spend, you can start to disrupt them. Use Virtual Wallet® Spending + Budgets tool within your PNC Mobile app1 to review your purchases over the past few months. Look for transactions you remember making because you were experiencing negative emotions, impulse buys you don’t use anymore (and may not even remember making) and purchases that made you feel guilty afterward. Once you’ve identified an example or two, ask yourself:
- How were you feeling when you made the purchase? Were you bored, stressed, sad, or experiencing another negative emotion?
- What happened before you decided to shop? Had you just received bad news? Was it an impulse add-on to a planned shopping trip?
- How did you feel immediately after? What about after a few days?
Look for patterns in the situations that tend to trigger emotional spending, the items you tend to reach for when you’re feeling emotional, and how those purchases affect you afterward. Write your findings down to create an emotional spending profile to identify likely emotional purchases in the future.
Find Alternatives to Emotional Spending
Once you’ve identified your emotional spending pattern, come up with a plan to disrupt it. If you tend to make emotional impulse buys when you’re shopping for essentials, for instance, resolving to shop with (and stick to) a list could help keep you on track. If you tend to spend emotionally when you’re bored, come up with a list of alternative activities, like reading a book, calling up a friend or taking a walk around the block. If you find you’re shopping out of sadness of loneliness, seek out support from loved ones. You don’t need to divulge your concerns about emotional spending, but it might help – after all, they might be struggling with the same thing. Finally, look to your workplace mental health benefits or regional programs to get added support when you need it.
Take an “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” Approach to Advertising
Marketers are well aware of our tendency to spend emotionally, and brands design their advertising to appeal to emotion. What’s more, research shows that advertising makes us unhappy. So in addition to showing us new and shiny things to spend our money on, it may also trigger negative feelings that drive us to spend. Taking steps to reduce your exposure to ads may make it easier to curb emotional spending. Start by installing an ad blocker extension to your browser to cut out online ads. Consider temporarily unfollowing brands that trigger your emotional spending on social media. Unsubscribe from their emails, too, or filter them into a separate folder to keep them out of your inbox. Finally, remove your payment information from sites where you tend to spend emotionally, or use a site-blocking browser extension to cut off access to those sites entirely. You’ll have to unblock and re-enter your payment information to make a purchase, giving you more time to change your mind.
Spend Mindfully With Each Purchase
Not every emotional purchase is bad, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for treating yourself within your budget. But spending mindfully should help limit emotional buys to free up more funds for what you truly want. So before you make a potentially-emotional purchase, weigh the joy you’ll get from the purchase against its cost. The rush from that $7 latte might be worth it, but $50 for a new phone case when you’ve already got a few at home? Maybe not so much. Come back to reconsider larger purchases 24 or 48 hours later to see if you still really want it. And consider a “one in, one out” rule for purchases like clothing and housewares. If you already have what you need, each new item should be meaningful enough to replace one you already own. Overall, taking steps to recognize emotional spending will help you take control of your finances, so you feel secure in your finances and satisfied with your budget. And if you need added support we’re here to help. Connect with PNC for help setting and sticking to a budget and reaching your financial goals. Emotions and moods have a way of directing our spending behavior. Since we can’t always predict our future emotions while making our budgets, how do we prevent retail therapy (or a sugar craving that results in buying donuts for the whole office) from throwing a wrench into things later in the month? You can avoid emotional spending by having a plan. Here are seven of those feelings that can tempt you to spend, plus some strategies for thinking clearly while you’re in the middle of them.
Emotions that Affect Your Spending
No one wants to turn down that Girl Scout who comes to your front door asking you to buy cookies. You look at that sweet face, feel a tinge of guilt, and decide that your pantry could use a few boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas. It’s easier than just saying no, right? Spending Solution: If you make your budget before the month begins, that gives you a perfect reason to resist spending money out of guilt—you simply say, “It’s not in the budget.” And if you plan ahead of time, Girl Scout cookies can get their own budget! That really is easier than just saying no.
This is the emotion that makes you want to keep up with the Joneses. When someone talks about their nice vacation or new car, you may have the urge to buy something or go somewhere too. Your emotion will tell you yes while your bank account will say, “Uh, maybe later.” Get Rachel Cruze’s new book to learn why you handle money the way you do! Spending Solution: Let the moment pass. Take some time and breathe. Once you’re past the initial rush, you won’t be as tempted to spend. If you wait and still find yourself wanting a certain item, start saving for it! Just don’t go crazy buying things because someone else has something you’d like to have.
We’ve all been there. You have a bad day or are upset about something and you spend money to feel better. But your problem doesn’t disappear when you spend this way—only your money does. And that can make you feel even worse. Retail therapy can do more harm than good. Spending Solution: Just like with jealousy, take time and breathe. Find something fun to distract you, like reading a book or taking a stroll in the park. The sadness will pass.
How tough is it to resist spending when you’re celebrating? If someone in your family graduates, announces their engagement, or does something else that’s worthy of a toast, you want to celebrate with dinner or a gift. But we all know how quickly money can disappear when celebrating takes over. Spending Solution: Check your calendar so you can see the special occasions to budget for. If you love to celebrate and want to be ready for the surprises that you don’t see coming, set aside $50–100 in a Celebration fund so if there’s partying to be done, you’re prepared.
Some people are scared by news reports about the stock market being down. They buy gold as a “safe” investment because they think the economy will collapse. Fear can also cause you to buy overpriced and gimmicky insurance policies. Spending Solution: Step back and take a look at your situation. Deal with areas like insurance and retirement by addressing your needs. If someone tries to sell you a product or service with a scare tactic, that’s a red flag.
Nothing—and we mean nothing—can make you go overboard at the grocery store like hunger. Even paper towels can look delicious. But if you’re not careful, that $100 shopping list can grow to $150—and that will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth. Spending Solution: Eat before you go to the store. Stick to your grocery list. Don’t be tempted by the sweet scents of the bakery if you have no items to buy from there. That is the simplest and easiest way to not overspend at the store.
The desire to spend for the current season is a strong one. You might want to buy Christmas decorations for the house, or go all fall with leaves, wreathes and hay bales. There’s nothing wrong with that . . . as long as you meet these two conditions. Spending Solution: Have the money and have the need. If your old trees and garlands had their heyday back in the ’80s, it’s fine to replace them if you’ve budgeted for Christmas décor. Just don’t get so wowed by mall store displays that you overspend in the name of holiday cheer. The best way to overcome these emotional spending scenarios is to create a budget before each month that reflects your values, and make it at a scheduled time when you are thinking clearly about your money goals. That way, you have something to guide you and your spending, whether you feel over the moon or . . . not so over the moon. You’ll be focused on your goals, and you’ll be more likely to reach them because you, not your emotions, control your spending. Get started with a free EveryDollar budget today! About the author Ramsey Solutions Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.
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