3 simple ways to reduce emotional spending

How to rein in emotional spending

When I was young, I had a bad emotional spending habit. Whenever I was feeling sad, bored, or even happy trying to celebrate an accomplishment, I would go shopping for clothes as a way to deal with my feelings.

Studies have shown that the epidemic caused Sharply increased emotional spending. When we were all stuck at home doing nothing, many people turned to online shopping as a way to get rid of boredom, stress and anxiety.

If you’ve developed an emotional spending habit during the pandemic and are struggling to break it, here are some tips on how to curb impulsive shopping. Although I am not perfect and still emotionally drained at times, these 3 strategies have helped me greatly in reducing the impulsive buying habit, which has enabled me to achieve my financial goals.

Find out what you want to fill in

When I overspend impulsively, I usually try to fill an emotional need. I’m usually sad, bored, or tired and look for a distraction to make me feel better. Before I make an unplanned purchase, I ask myself, what is the reason for this spending? Is this thing or experience something I really want, or am I trying to fill an emotional need that isn’t being met by shopping?

If I’m trying to cheer myself up or turn around a bad day by shopping, I try to find an alternative. Spending is not the best way to deal with negative emotions like boredom or exhaustion. Self-care activities such as watching a movie, reading a book, taking a nap, or talking to a friend on the phone are usually more effective in solving a bad mood than buying something. Not to mention that going for a walk when I’m bored is much cheaper than giving in to the temptation of online shopping!

Make it difficult to pay for the purchase

Emotional spending is always rash. So I put in guarantees to make it more difficult for me to buy something on a whim. I don’t save my debit card information in any websites or apps. Having to look up my debit card and enter payment details manually forces me to slow down and reconsider purchases. A lot of times I end up realizing that I don’t need anything I’m trying to buy while looking for my wallet.

I also try to stick to the rule that I can’t buy something superfluous until I think about it for at least a week. I usually fill up my online shopping cart and leave it for a while. This cooling off period helps me avoid emotional spending and separate needs from desires. If the purchase is motivated by a fleeting desire or emotion, I will not want it as strongly in a week or two. But if I really want or need an item and it fits my budget, I allow myself to buy it after I’ve thought about it.

Practice good self-care

It’s hard to exercise willpower and say no to urges when you’re tired and exhausted. When you’re running empty, you may feel like you need to splurge on new clothes or shoes to freshen up.

This is why one of the keys to overcoming emotional spending is practicing good self-care. Taking care of yourself both physically and mentally will help ensure that your cup is never empty so much that you seek a dopamine boost from shopping.

Making time for self-care can be challenging if you have a demanding job, family, or caring responsibilities. But even if you only have twenty or thirty minutes, you can still find ways to de-stress. When I’m pressed for time, I like to do a quick guided meditation or read a few pages of a book to relax. You can also try taking a short walk outside, playing with a pet, or doing short yoga sessions.

Since I started squeezing some of my “time” every day, I haven’t been inclined to treat myself to junk food or shopping trips. I’m less stressed, so it’s easier to make smart and rational financial decisions than emotional spending on impulse.

What strategies do you use to avoid emotional spending? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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