It's common to indulge in something sweet when you feel bad or to celebrate successes at dinner. Small "treats", however, can be emotional expenses in disguise. If you frequently feel guilty about buying things that you never use, you may be an emotional giver, and that budget breaker may be more common than you think.
In a recent study, over 49 percent of Americans bought products to make them happy, and 30 percent of respondents regretted it. With the vacation coming up, stress, family problems, or vacation excitement can all increase your emotions. Read our tips below or move on to our infographic to help curb emotional spending while on vacation.
What are emotional issues?
Emotional spending is when you buy something that you may not need in order to ease your emotions. These emotions can range from stress and sadness to happiness and celebration. Emotional spending can also be categorized as impulse spending – these purchases are decisions made in the moment to buy something unnecessary or out of budget. An example of an impulse buying might be buying new headphones when you went to the store to buy creamer.
If you have a tendency to make last minute emotional purchases, you are not the only one. About half of consumers admitted buying products to improve their mood. And each emotional purchase costs an average of $ 114.32. If you were to make one emotional purchase per month it would cost $ 1,371.81 per year. Not only could this hurt your savings, but you could also lose future investment opportunities. To adjust your spending habits, you may want to first identify your spending errors.
5 Common Triggers for Emotional Issues
Emotional issues typically result from five main emotions – jealousy, guilt, fear, sadness, or achievement. Browsing shopping apps rather than facing fearful projects can help your emotions get the most out of your budget. Read on for a full breakdown of each of the triggers for emotional spending.
1. Jealousy: You shop to keep up with your colleagues
You can be jealous when someone gets an item that you have wanted for a long time, or when you think it is fashionable. When jealousy occurs, you can start looking for things that you don't need to keep up with others. Are you wondering, do I go shopping to keep up with the people around me? If you answered yes, you might get the impetus to buy a new pair of shoes in order to outdo someone else. Even when these expenses are budgeted for, keeping up with others can be a strain.
Healthy Exchange: Gratitude Journal. Every morning, write five things that you are grateful for. You may feel happier with what you have than with what you don't.
2. Guilt: If you fail, treat yourself
You can feel guilty if you fail to take care of your body, miss a deadline, or fail a test. When you feel uncomfortable, the common practice is to look for convenience through other outlets. Instead of learning different ways to improve, you can order expensive takeaway food. Small "treats" can temporarily ease your emotions, but too many bad habits can drive your budget into the red.
Healthy Exchange: Learn and Improve. Find out why you are feeling guilty and three things you can do to improve yourself. Then set goals for yourself to work towards those improvements and bring bad habits onto the streets.
3. Anxiety: You're nervous, so use shopping as a distraction
Fear can be linked to your everyday life – of a new work project, being late or general fear. It is normal to want to avoid our fears as we are hardwired to protect ourselves. Fearful, emotional shoppers can browse online stores for work supplies while tackling an intimidating work project.
Healthy Swap: Get Out. Take a deep breath and walk around the block. Running between 10 and 45 minutes can improve your mood and anxiety.
4. Sadness: You buy new things to improve your mood
You have most likely felt sad, like many of us. Sadness can be triggered by a harmful event or simply waking up in a gloomy mood. For emotional shoppers, buying new items can temporarily lift the spirit but cut the budget. Buying a new kitchen appliance can cut your savings, but it may have left you happy for a week. It has been scientifically proven that your brain releases endorphins (A.K.A., happiness hormones) when you buy something new. However, this is not a sustainable tactic for your budget.
Healthy Swap: Sweat It Out. Replace a shopping endorphin rush with a healthier endorphin rush. Go to your local gym or try a new workout at home.
5. Success: You have achieved a goal so reward yourself (too big)
You have ticked off one of your goals and congratulations! You are a rock star You may feel like you entered the lottery, but your budget may not. You might want to avoid partying over dinner and paying the bill for everyone at the table. Instead, make a list of rewards that won't hurt your budget. Celebrating over a homemade meal can be just as special.
Healthy Exchange: Treat Your Future Self. If you take a personal day or add more to your savings, you can get long term benefits. You may feel rested and ready to take advantage of future opportunities.
6 ways to control emotional spending
You may have identified yourself with one (or more) of the emotional triggers listed above. To avoid pointless shopping trips, be on the lookout for ways to control your lifestyle and budget. Read on to see how you can tag your triggers and take control of your budget.
1. Find out your emotional triggers
First, identify your emotional triggers. The next time you go shopping, ask yourself, "Why am I going shopping?" You may need to pick up some socks as your old ones have holes in them. Or you can browse the stores for an endorphin high. Buying a new pair of shoes now can put a smile on your face, but it hurts your financial goals later.
2. Take a step back and breathe
If you find yourself doing emotional shopping, take a deep breath. Pour yourself a glass of tea, talk to someone, or write in your journal. Noticing your spending triggers is a big step in the right direction. Take a minute to think and remember that no one is perfect. To avoid impulse decisions, wait a week before buying the item you were looking at.
3. Delete shopping apps and email newsletters
The next step is to remove temptation. Assuming you are unhealthily addicted to caffeine, you may think you should stop drinking it – do the same for your budget! Delete your favorite shopping app, unsubscribe from email newsletters, and avoid shopping malls. The extra work of re-downloading and signing in to an app for a pulse buy might be too much work.
4. Find and test other coping skills
When you feel the overwhelming urge to buy something new, replace it with something you enjoy. That could be starting a creative passive income project or trying a new sport. If you don't have big hobbies, there are unique ways to reward yourself without breaking the bank. Having a night of self-care at home could be the perfect alternative to buying a new skin care product.
5. Keep your credit card at home
Leave your card at home when attending events or running errands that might test your wallet. Consider taking the right amount of cash that you may need and nothing more. Every step towards your goals is a step in the right direction. Celebrate your small winnings with a cup of homemade coffee or baked goods.
6. Meet weekly with your budget
Set a time each week to review your finances. Add this "meeting" to your planner or calendar to hold yourself accountable. For convenience, download our app to keep track of your weekly expenses in one place. Assess where you may have spent too much or too little. If your goals are not where you want them to be, take notes of how you can improve. These notes could help you improve your financial decisions tomorrow. Read on to see how mindful money practices can improve your lifestyle.
swell: American Psychological Association